Whole grains or foods made from them contain all the essential parts and naturally-occurring nutrients of the entire grain seed. If the grain has been processed (e.g., cracked, crushed, rolled, extruded, and/or cooked), the food product should deliver approximately the same rich balance of nutrients that are found in the original grain seed.
Whole grains include grains like wheat, corn, rice, oats, barley, quinoa, sorghum, rye – when these foods are eaten in their “whole” form. Whole grains even include popcorn! Whole grains are low in fat. They can help you to lose weight. They’re excellent sources of nutrition and fiber. And whole grain foods can protect you from diseases.
Antioxidants, Vitamins and Minerals: Consumers are increasingly aware that fruits and vegetables contain disease-fighting phytochemicals and antioxidants, but they do not realize whole grains are often an even better source of these key nutrients. Whole grains have some valuable antioxidants not found in fruits and vegetables, as well as B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium, iron and fiber.
The medical evidence is clear that whole grains reduce risks of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and obesity. People who eat whole grains regularly have a lower risk of obesity, as measured by their body mass index and waist-to-hip ratios. They also have lower cholesterol levels. Because of the phytochemicals and antioxidants, people who eat three daily servings of whole grains have been shown to reduce their risk of heart disease by 25-36%, stroke by 37%, Type II diabetes by 21-27%, digestive system cancers by 21-43%, and hormone-related cancers by 10-40%.
How to Know it’s Whole Grain: First, check the package label. Many whole grain products not yet using the Stamp will list the grams of whole grain somewhere on the package, or say something like “100% whole wheat.” You can trust these statements. But be skeptical if you see the words “whole grain” without more details, such as “crackers made with whole grain.” The product may contain only miniscule amounts of whole grains.
Whole grain product ingredient keywords:
• whole grain
• whole wheat
* brown rice
* oats, oatmeal (including old-fashioned oatmeal, instant oatmeal)
Other whole grain products without the full benefit of the whole grains:
• wheat flour
• durum wheat
• organic flour
• multi-grain (may describe several whole grains or several refined grains, or a mix of both)
These products NEVER describe whole grains:
• enriched flour
• degerminated (on corn meal)
• wheat germ
As always, thank you for time, love & support. We hope what we have shared has helped you. Be sure to share this info with family & friends.
-Eric & Maleka Beal
Check out these resources:
Visit www.wholegrainscouncil.org for additional information.
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Eric and Maleka Beal are health coaches and co-founders of BetterChoices, a health & wellness company and social community focused on educating, advocating, and promoting better health and wellness through lifestyle, nutrition, and fitness education.