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Nutritional Superstar: Whole Grains
Have you made the switch to whole grains yet? Whole grains are complex carbohydrates that contain many key vitamins and minerals. Dietary guidelines for Americans recommend that half of your grains come from whole grains. This means the average adult should consume 3-5 servings per day. One serving is 1/3 cup of rice, ½ cup cooked whole grain pasta, cereal or any other grain, and one slice of whole grain bread.
The difference between refined grains and whole grains is that whole grains contain the germ, the endosperm, and the bran, unlike refined grains that only contain the endosperm. Refined grains are processed to improve their shelf life, but this process actually removes the fiber, iron, and vitamins. Refined grains will not fill you up as much as whole grains. If you are looking for an easy weight management strategy to keep you full longer and help control your portions, try making the switch to whole grains! Whole grains are nutrient-dense and are rich in fiber, phytochemical, antioxidants, lignans, and saponins.
Other health benefits:
- Reduces your risk of type II diabetes, coronary heart disease, and asthma
- Lowers your LDL and triglyceride levels
- Contributes to better weight maintenance
- Maintains blood pressure levels
There are so many great companies that have incorporated whole grains into their ingredients. Fiber One came out with a delicious new cereal this summer called Nutty Clusters & Almonds. It’s a nutritional superstar — one serving offers 23 grams of whole grains and 11 grams of fiber!
How do you confirm that the product you’re buying is considered a whole grain? Most products will have a stamp ensuring that the product contains whole grains. Otherwise, look at the first ingredient listed and see if it’s one of these whole grains:
- Whole wheat
- Whole grain wheat
- Sprouted grains
- Whole oats
- Brown rice
- Wild rice