Happy National Whole Grains Month everyone! If you’re like me then you happen to love grains! They definitely make up my favorite part of every meal since I’m not much of a meat lover. The best part about whole grains is that there is such a variety to choose from that you can have a different type every night of the week!
Why Choose Whole Grains?
It is recommended that at least half of your grains every day should be consumed as whole grains. So why is this so? Why are whole grains so much better than processed or refined grains? Well whole grains are just what they sound like- “whole grains,” which means that the entire grain- the bran, germ, and endosperm- is in the product unlike refined grains. Refined grains go through a long process, which removes the bran and germ. This results in a product with less dietary fiber, iron, protein, and many B vitamins. As a result, consuming whole grains rather than refined grains has been linked to lower cases of chronic disease like heart disease, lower risk of certain types of cancer, stroke, and lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
How Can I Tell If I’m Eating Whole Grains?
Many of the labels out there are deceiving, so how can you tell if you are actually consuming whole grain products? First, beware of the “multi-grains.” Many believe that multi-grain is a healthier option to white bread or refined grains but many times “multi-grain” just means many different types of refined grains. Instead, look for “whole multi-grain” or check the ingredient list. The first ingredient should be labeled as a whole grain. Always check the ingredient list to make sure you are actually getting a whole grain instead of a fancier refined grain trying to pass as something it’s not.
What Are Some Whole Grains?
So I think we all know about whole wheat and that this is a popular whole grain but did you know there are so many other types of whole grains out there? Amaranth, buckwheat, brown rice, oats, kamut, barley, rye, triticale, spelt, bulgur, teff, sorghum, millet, cornmeal, quinoa, wild rice- these are all types of whole grains you can find in your supermarket and they are all delicious in their own way! So instead of boiling up some brown rice why not try something new, like barley or quinoa. With so many types of whole grains out there, you can never get bored!
Your turn to take action: How many servings of whole grains do you eat each day? Now, try to increase that number by one serving every week until you are consuming at least half of your grains from whole grains.