How much whole grain is in your diet? If you don’t know then it may not be enough. Whole grain has a whole host of benefits but Americans, particularly African Americans do not eat enough. Many of us like white rice with gravy, white rolls with butter, macaroni and cheese, (you get the picture). While these foods taste great and eating them in moderation isn’t all bad, make sure your diet includes whole grains.
Whole grain is a “complete grain” since it hasn’t had its bran and germ removed by milling. Whole-grain foods are good sources of complex carbohydrates and contain fiber, vitamins and minerals and as a result, they provide tremendous health benefits:
- Helps with weight loss
- Reduces heart disease (by 25% according to the Whole Grains Council)
- Reduces risk of stroke (by 30% according to the Whole Grains Council)
- Manages diabetes
- Keeps you regular
Adding whole grains to your diet is easier than you think. You should aim to have at least three servings each day. First things first, you must know how to determine which foods contain whole grain (avoid the pretenders). Look for the “Whole Grain Stamp” on the package. This official stamp was created by the Whole Grain Council to help consumers identify real whole grain products. However, not all whole grains foods have a stamp so you should check the label for words such as whole grain, whole wheat, oats, oatmeal, wheatberries, or stoneground whole. The popular “multigrain” may or may not have some parts of the whole grain missing so it doesn’t always mean it’s 100%.
Ways you can incorporate whole grains to your daily routine:
Add oats to foods such as yogurt
Substitute white flour with whole wheat flour in your cookie, pancake or other baking recipes
Eat brown rice instead of white rice
Use whole corn meal for corn bread and corn muffins
Eat whole grain bread instead of white or multigrain bread
Mix whole grain pasta with your white pasta (try spaghetti) or substitute it completely