Whole grains are an essential part of a healthy diet. Hailed as the "staff of life" for their historical importance to human survival, grains come in many forms, shapes, and sizes. And eating at least 3 servings whole grains a day will help you stay healthy for life.
All types of whole grains are good sources of complex carbohydrates, your body's best energy source. As the body's key fuel, carbohydrates provide your brain, heart, and nervous system with a constant supply of energy to keep you moving, breathing, and thinking. Grains are also a good source of fiber (for staying regular, preventing cancer, and helping you feel full longer). They also provide many nutrients such as vitamin B, iron, potassium and magnesium. In addition, people who eat whole grains as part of a healthy diet have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and obesity.
Any food made from wheat, rice, oats, corn, or another cereal is a grain product. But not all grains are created equal. Grains that have been refined, such as white rice or white flour, do not have as many nutrients as whole grains do, and they don't provide as much fiber naturally. So whenever you can, choose whole grains over refined grains.
Be wary of foods labeled multi-grain, stone ground, 100% wheat, or bran. Even though they sound healthy, they are usually NOT whole-wheat products. Instead choose foods with whole wheat, whole grain, whole oats, or whole rye listed first on the label's ingredient list. And look for breads with at least 2 grams of fiber.
Ways to enjoy more whole grains. Try these tips for adding more whole grains to your meals and snacks:
- Enjoy breakfasts that include high-fiber cereals, such as bran flakes, shredded wheat or oatmeal.
- Substitute whole-wheat toast or whole-grain bagels for plain bagels. Substitute low-fat, bran muffins for pastries.
- Make sandwiches using whole-grain
breads or rolls. Swap out white-flour tortillas with whole-wheat
- Replace white rice with brown or
- Feature wild rice or barley in
soups, stews, casseroles and salads.
- Add whole grains, such as cooked
brown rice or whole-grain bread crumbs, to ground meat or poultry
for extra body.
- Use rolled oats or crushed bran
cereal in recipes instead of dry bread crumbs.
- 1 slice of whole wheat bread
- 1 ounce (about 1 cup) ready-to-eat
- 1/2 bagel, English muffin, or bun
- 1/2 cup cooked oatmeal, rice, or
- 1 four-inch-diameter pancake or
- 1 seven-inch-diameter tortilla
- 5 to 6 whole-grain crackers
- 3 cups air-popped popcorn (without
Check out some of my favorite whole grain recipes from the links above!
To Your Health,
H -- CAS