The Scoop on Whole Grains

Whole grains such as, corn, oats, barley and even whole-grain pasta, are sources of several nutrients and are a great part of a healthful diet. Not only are they a delicious addition to your meals, whole grains contain nutrients such as B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, folic acid and niacin), minerals, ( magnesium, selenium, copper and iron), vitamin E, protein, carbohydrates and fiber. the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Pyramid, called MyPryamid, recommends “making half your grains whole.” This translates into at least three ounce-equivalent servings of whole grain foods a day for a 2,000 calorie diet.

Research studies indicate that eating a diet rich in whole grain foods, as part of a healthy diet, may help protect against several chronic diseases. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved several whole-grain health claims for use on food labels, stating:

~ “A diet rich in whole grains and several other plant foods and low in total fat and cholesterol may help reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers.”

~ “Diets rich in whole-grain foods and other plant foods, low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may help reduce the risk of heart disease.”

~ “Low-fat diets rich in fiber-containing grain products, fruits and vegetables my reduce the risk of some types of cancer, a disease associated with many factors.”

Finding Whole Grains:

To find whole-grain foods on your supermarket shelves, check out the ingredient listing on the back of the package. One of the first few ingredients listed should be a whole grain, such as:

~ 100% whole-wheat flour
~ Brown rice
~ Whole grain pasta
~ Whole oats or oatmeal
~ Bulgur (cracked wheat)
~ Whole-grain cornmeal
~ Whole-grain barley (not pearled)
~ Wild rice
~ Whole rye
~ Quinoa

Additionally, you can find whole-grain foods by looking for FDA approved whole-grain health claims on the label.

Another shortcut to finding whole-grain foods is to look for a call-out or statement on the label identifying the whole-grain content. For example many whole-grain products identify how many ounce-equivalent servings of whole grains each serving of the food provides. With a wide variety of whole-grain products now available at your grocery store, it’s easy to add more whole-grain foods to your day.