Whole grains are those grains that have not been processed. In other words, the grain remains intact as it is in nature, with the entire grain seed in its original state. Should the grain be rolled, cracked, crushed, cooked, or extruded the food should deliver the same nutrient rich balance as the original kernel to still be classified as a whole grain.
Most of us know about whole wheat but there are many other whole grains that are available, each with a unique taste. Some common ones are: barley, buckwheat, corn, millet, oats, quinoa, rice, rye wheat, and wild rice. And why should you eat whole grains? Studies have shown that there are many health benefits to eating whole grains: reduced risk of stroke, reduced risk of type II diabetes, better weight maintenance, lower risk of colorectal cancer, blood pressure improvement, reduced risk of asthma, better oral health, and more. Whole grains contain fiber which helps to keep things moving along as they should, an additional health benefit.
So how many servings should you eat to reap the benefits of whole grains? The recommended amount is three to five servings of whole grains each day. Getting those three to five servings isn’t as hard as you might think. There are many delicious whole grain breads on the market, I usually have a slice with my breakfast. I like Ancient Grains from Pepperidge Farms. Brown rice is a great source of whole grains too.My favorite is ' target="_blank"> Lundberg Countrywild. Pay attention to the serving size on the package. If you have a sandwich, or two slices of bread, it counts two whole grain servings.
And while that package of chocolate chip cookies may very well say that two cookies contain about a gram of fiber, please note that it is not whole grain. The flour used to make most baked goods is usually so processed that the flour has to be enriched just to have nutritional value. Aren’t sure if that bakery bread is whole grain? A good indicator is being able to see pieces of the grain still intact.
Try some new foods that are different grains that what you usually eat. How about tabbouleh? It’s great and you can find it boxed in your local grocery store. Whole grain pita bread is great with hummus or stuffed as a sandwich. Or whole grain pasta? This is easy to switch to as you put sauce on it and it helps you get accustomed to the taste.
Let me know what your favorites are!
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