Every Whole Grain in Your Diet Helps
Are you looking for a food item that provides you with antioxidants, B vitamins, is cholesterol lowering, cancer preventing, constipation preventing, prevents a rapid rise in blood sugar, provides you with phytochemicals and vitamin E, has fewer calories than refined grains, and helps you feel fuller longer? If you answered yes to this question then you will want to add whole grains to your diet.
The Grain Group is an important part the USDA’s MyPlate. This food group includes wheat, rice, oats, corn, barley, and rye. Most adults should aim for 6 ounces from the Grain Group every day. That is easy to do, because a serving size is actually small. A one ounce serving equals one slice of bread, one cup of breakfast cereal or ½ cup of cooked rice, cereal or pasta.
Do you know the difference between refined grains and whole grains? Most of us eat largely refined-grain foods such as white bread, white rice, crackers, bagels, and pretzels. However, whole-grain foods such as whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, brown rice, and popcorn provide better health benefits which is why the MyPlate encourages us to make half of our grains whole. This means we should eat at least three ounces of whole grain foods every day.
All grains start life as whole grains. Refined grains and flours are from whole grains with the bran and germ removed. Whole grains retain the highly nutritious bran layer and germ. They also provide phytochemicals and fiber. Refined grains do not provide those. People who eat three daily servings of whole grains reduce their risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. Other benefits indicated by recent studies include:
reduced risk of asthma
healthier carotid arteries
reduction of inflammatory disease risk
lower risk of colorectal cancer
healthier blood pressure levels
less gum disease and tooth loss
Sources: Smart Choices Lesson 11, Smart Choices Newsletter- Whole Grains for Better Health, and wholegrainscouncil.org
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture