A recent study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that the consumption of whole grains, by adults in the United States, is far below the recommended level. The study focused on two age groups, ages 19-50 and 51+. In both age groups, the individuals that consumed whole grains had a lower intake of sugars, saturated fatty acids, and cholesterol, while increasing their intake of essential nutrients.
Why is this important?
“Consumption of whole grains, unlike consumption of refined grains, has been associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke, hypertension, insulin sensitivity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, metabolic syndrome, obesity, and some types of cancer.”
Here are 4 different foods to switch to whole grains:
Bread – Choose whole wheat, cracked wheat or rye. You might just find that you enjoy the complex flavor of the whole grain bread in contrast to bland, boring, white bread. Be sure to read the ingredients list as some food companies like to add caramel coloring just to make it look like whole wheat. Look for ingredients such as whole grain, whole wheat flour or cracked wheat. Avoid products that use refined flour.
Rice – Choose brown rice. It is the most nutrient dense form of rice. Are you looking for something a little different? Give quinoa a try. It’s actually a complete protein, which is rare among plants.
Pasta – This may be the most difficult one. Whole wheat pasta is certainly better for you, but in most cases it seems to sacrifice heavily in taste and texture. If anyone knows of a good tasting whole wheat pasta, we would love to know about it. One good alternative is quinoa pasta, but not all supermarkets carry it.
Cereal – This is easy. There are a lot of good cereals made out of whole wheat and/or oats. If you especially love oats, then oatmeal is obviously a great choice. The biggest thing to be careful of when buying these products is that a lot of them contain large amounts of sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Again be sure to read the labels to make sure the first ingredients listed are whole grains or oats.
How many servings of whole grains do you need?
“The 2005 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee recommended that at least three servings of whole grains per day be consumed by healthy individuals.” Keep in mind this is a bare minimum.