Nutritious whole grains that provide fiber and vitamins are excellent for your health Article: The Whole Truth About Whole Grains (2021)
Eating right can help improve your cardiovascular and overall health, but food labels and names are often confusing.
You are not alone if you have ever wondered if whole grains are good for you. you may also wonder “What whole grains should I eat?” or “What kinds of bread or cereals are best for staying healthy?”
“There is a short answer to some or all of these questions,” says dietitian Erin Rossi MFN, RD, LD. “Go for whole grains and avoid refined grains.”
What does “whole” mean in whole grains, and why do you need it?
In their original, whole (unprocessed) state, grains such as wheat, oats, kasha, and rice have outer layers or coats. Whole grains are first harvested as whole-grain grains consisting of layers of bran, germ, and endosperm.
These layers include vitamins, minerals, fiber, sugars, protein, and healthy unsaturated fats, as well as carbohydrates, protein, and healthy unsaturated fats.
Processed or refined grains have the healthy outer layers removed. Food manufacturers will remove the outer layers of the grains to make a commercially successful product for consumers. This milling process mechanically removes the bran, the fiber-rich outer layer that contains B vitamins and minerals. Grinding also removes embryonic tissue that contains essential fatty acids and vitamin E.
This is why you should eat your grains whole as much as possible. While nutrients are often applied to foods made from processed grains to make them nutritious, even enhanced or “enriched” foods made from refined grains lack the healthy properties found in raw, unprocessed grains.
The benefits of whole grains
The benefits of whole grains transcend nutrition. Whole-grain foods can help you avoid weight gain.
The outer coatings contain bran or fiber, which keeps you fuller longer. That same fiber helps your GI system work well, making it easier for you.
Research has shown that eating a diet rich in whole grains helps prevent diabetes, which is also beneficial for protecting the heart. Refined grains in the diet do not have these benefits, so whole grains are a sensible option.
Shopping advice for incorporating whole grains into your diet
“Shopping for prepared foods is often tricky, especially once you are looking for foods made from whole grains,” says Rossi. the following tips can help:
- Check the label. the main ingredient listed must say “100% whole grain”.
- Avoid any food that mentions the phrase “enriched” or “refined.” This is an indication that the item contains refined grains.
- Look for the “Whole Grain” seal of the Whole Grains Council, a nonprofit organization. This seal tells you that the merchandise contains a minimum of a half serving of whole grains.
Here’s a quick cheat sheet for some popular whole grain items that you can just find in most markets.
- Oatmeal (steel cut, instant, or old-fashioned).
- 100% whole wheat pizza, English muffins, or crackers are all good options.
- Tortillas or flatbreads made entirely of whole wheat.
- A hundred percent whole grains (wheat, corn, oats).
Of course, you’ll prepare or bake your own meals using any of the healthier ingredients mentioned below. (Click here for a list of nutritious recipes using these ingredients.)
- Whole wheat couscous.
- Wild rice.
- Integral rice.
- Whole wheat pasta.
- Whole wheat pastry flour.
“There are many other delicious recipes that use whole grains instead of processed grains,” says Rossi. “And you will feel good about every recipe you create once you use them.”
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