If you know how to pronounce the grain Quinoa (Keen-wa), or even know what it is, you may be more knowledgable than most about the whole grain game. Eating whole grains is not as simple as subbing wheat bread for white. And there are so many more tasty options available now than there were in the past. A little research and effort can reap many health benefits.
According to The Whole Grain Council, www.wholegrainscouncil.org/nnm,
the definition of a whole grain is a grain containing all the essential parts and naturally-occurring nutrients of the entire grain seed. If the grain has been processed (cracked, crushed, rolled, cooked etc.), the food product should deliver approximately the same balance of nutrients that are found in the original grain seed. 100% of the original kernel – all of the bran, germ, and endosperm – must be present to qualify as a whole grain.
The recommendation of the council is to eat 48 grams or more of whole grains per day. Whole grains include (but are not limited to) wheat, corn, rice, oats, farro, barley, quinoa, spelt and rye. The Free Press newspaper recently published a good article
about whole grains and how to cook them, as well as offering up some history about some of the ancient grains (farro and quinoa) that are experiencing a comeback. They are not only good for you, but they can taste great.
What are the health benefits for incorporating more whole grains into your diet?
- whole grains contain a lot more fiber than processed grains (helping to reduce chances of such diseases as colon cancer)
- Can reduce risk of stroke
- type 2 diabetes risk reduced
- heart disease risk reduced
- aids in better weight maintenance
- can lower blood pressure
A few first steps would be to swap whole grain pasta for white, eat oatmeal, make a salad with bulgar, cook brown rice (and some restaurants are even offering that as a choice), or eat whole grain cereal. Make sure you read labels: the first ingredient of a product that is touting itself as whole grain should simply be 100% whole grain.
For more information on National Nutrition Month, including games and quizzes, visit www.eatright.org/nnm
And check out this informative video about whole grains: