Whole grains, including whole wheat flour, brown rice, oats, quinoa, bulgur, barley and buckwheat, are fighters against heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Contrary to popular belief, Dr. Jampolis says, "Grains are not the enemy." While she does recommend cutting back on grains if you carry weight around your midsection, "you should not cut them completely, as they are a very good source of fiber, B vitamins and key minerals. Research shows that substituting whole grains for refined grains can improve weight loss and decrease markers of inflammation."
The fiber in whole grains can lower cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar and reduce the risk of colon cancer. Additionally, whole grains provide a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals and are ultra versatile when it comes to cooking. Start your day with oatmeal or another whole grain hot or cold cereal, toss together a grain salad with crunchy vegetables for lunch, serve a side of quinoa or bulgur with dinner, and always opt for whole grain varieties of bread products. The calories, protein and fiber content vary among grains, so be sure to read labels to pick the healthiest grain for your meals.