Did you know that you’re supposed to have three to eight ounces of whole grains daily, according to the USDA? While the health benefits of fruits and veggies are more obvious, what exactly is considered a whole grain? Why do our bodies need them? Let’s take a look at different types of whole grains and what they have to offer.
What are Whole Grains?
Grains are made up of three parts—the bran, the germ, and the endosperm. Refined grains, like white flour or white rice, have had the bran and germ removed, leaving only the endosperm. Whole grains, on the other hand, have all three essential components. And they still contain all of their nutrients.
What are Examples of Whole Grain Foods?
Three servings of whole grains isn’t much when you consider all the things you can eat to get your daily requirement. Examples include flax seed, barley, brown rice, buckwheat, bulgur (cracked wheat), and millet. Oatmeal, popcorn, whole-wheat breads, pastas, and crackers are also considered whole grains. Along with salmon, blueberries, and nuts, some of these whole grain foods are deemed “super foods,” because of their nutritional content.
The key is to make sure the foods you select truly contain whole grains. hence when you’re buying rice, pasta, or crackers, double check the nutrition facts on the back and look specifically for the words “whole” or “whole grain” high on the ingredients list.
What are the Benefits of Whole Grain Foods?
Good Digestion and Calorie Control: Foods with whole grains contain a high amount of fiber, which helps you digest food better and prevents constipation. Whole grain foods also help you feel more full with fewer calories.
Disease-fighting: Whole grains are packed with fiber, phytochemicals, antioxidants, and a variety of key vitamins that help fight off disease. Vitamins found in whole grains like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, iron, magnesium, and selenium help reduce the risk of diseases including obesity, Type II Diabetes, heart disease, and some forms of cancer.
What foods are marketed as healthy but really aren’t? Take a look at our blog 4 So-Called Healthy Foods. If you’d like to read more blogs on nutrition, parenting, and community happenings, like Hospitality Health ER’s Facebook Page.