Until recently, it seemed that only nutritionists (and cereal box labels) used the words whole grain. Now delicious whole grain soups, desserts, and breads—bursting with color, texture and flavor—have become popular. It's also widely known that they have the power to deliver key antioxidants.
Your weekly goal is to make sure that half of your grain servings per day (three to five one-ounce servings) are whole grains such as wild rice, brown rice, barley, bulgur, corn (polenta), faro, quinoa, wheat berries, or whole wheat couscous. Whole grain foods are not refined, which means they contain all three parts of the grain, including the two lost in the refining process—the outer layer, bran, which provides fiber, B vitamins, and antioxidants; and the germ, the nutrient-packed inner portion, containing protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. The endosperm, the starchy part of the grain left in refined products such as white flour, contains some protein and lots of carbs but few nutrients. Look for the word whole on the ingredient list, followed by the name of the grain.
Research shows that adding even a moderate amount of whole grain to your diet every day—whole grain cereal topped with fruit for breakfast, toasty multigrain bread at lunch, and a pilaf or grain salad for dinner—significantly reduces the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and digestive system and hormone-related cancers.
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