A long-term study shows that cutting back on eggs and dairy while adding whole grain foods, such as barley, corn, wild rice, oats and wheat, to your diet can lower your odds of suffering heart failure.

The study, conducted at the Division of Epidemiology and Disease Control at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center at Houston, revealed that the risk of heart failure increased 8 percent per one-serving increase in high-fat dairy intake and 23 percent per one-serving increase in egg consumption. It also found that participants had a 7 percent lower risk of heart failure per one-serving increase in whole grain food consumption.

Whole grain foods are made from the entire grain seed, which consists of three parts: the bran, the germ and endosperm. When whole grain foods are refined, the processing removes the bran and germ layers, leaving only the endosperm. When that happens, whole grain foods lose about 25 percent of their protein, along with at least 17 key nutrients. While processors can “enrich” refined grain foods by replenishing them with some vitamins and minerals, whole grain foods are healthier. They provide more protein, more fiber and many important vitamins and minerals.

Read RH’s “Whole Grain 101” for more info on whole grains and how to add them to your diet.