Are you eating enough whole grains? Do you know what classifies a grain as “whole”? How can you tell what’s a whole grain and what isn’t?
The Whole Grains Council celebrates all the whole grains during the month of September, and you should too!
So what is a whole grain?
Looking at the structure, a whole grain is a grain that contains the bran, germ, and endosperm. (See the grain anatomy picture below!) Therefore, they contain all the essential parts and natural occurring nutrients of the ENTIRE GRAIN SEED in their original proportions. The bran and germ house most of the vitamins and minerals, and when a grain is processed, only the endosperm remains, so all the nutrients are lost!
Benefits of eating whole grains?
Whole grains may reduce the risk of developing heart disease, stroke, cancers, diabetes, obesity, and GI disorders like diverticulosis.
How to find whole grains in the grocery store?
Look for WHOLE on the ingredients label as the FIRST WORD followed by the name of the grain (example: whole wheat, whole oat, etc.); other whole grains include wheat berries, brown rice, whole wheat flour, oats, and popcorn; Words like ENRICHED or REFINED never describe a whole grain!
How much whole grain do you need in your diet?
Aim for at least half your total grain intake coming from whole grains. Most adults need 6-8 servings of grains daily, so at least 3-4 servings should come from whole grains. One whole-grain serving equals one slice of bread, tortilla, or ½ an English muffin; ½ cup of cooked pasta or rice; ½ cup of cooked hot cereal; 1 cup of ready-to-eat cereal; 3 cups popcorn; 1 small bagel or muffin!
IN SUMMARY – choose whole grains most often to reap the most nutrients from your food!
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