Whole grains for whole body health
If you start your day with warm oatmeal or include brown rice as part of dinner, you’re making wise nutritional choices. Whole grains aren’t just good for you, they are also delicious, adding variety and satisfaction to your diet.
Contrary to the latest trend in weight loss that focuses on removing grains from your diet, whole grains actually help you achieve and maintain long term weight loss. In fact, a review of 66 studies shows that people who eat more whole grains actually weighed less compared to those who rarely consume whole grains. Plus, having three daily servings of whole grain foods is associated with:
- 21 percent decreased risk of developing heart disease
- 27 percent decreased risk of developing type two diabetes
- A lower body mass index and waist circumference
Fibre is your friend
Many of these factors can be attributed to the fibre found in whole grains, which helps stabilize blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and provides a feeling of fullness. This full feeling, or satiety, leads us to consume fewer calories thereby helping to avoid weight gain.
Fibre is found in plant-food sources, such as vegetables, fruit, nuts, beans and lentils, but the largest contributor of fibre to the diet is whole grains. Only half of all Canadians get the fibre they need each day. If you fall into that group, swap refined grains for whole grains with any of these tasty options:
- Whole grain wheat or wheatberries
- Brown rice
- Corn (including popcorn!)
- Pot barley
Too good to be true?
Science is on the side of whole grains. The most well-researched and recommended diets, such as the Mediterranean Diet, vegetarian diet and DASH diet all include whole grains. A key factor that strings together successful eating plans is that they all minimize processed foods in favour of eating more whole foods. That means more vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts, legumes and lean protein and less highly processed foods.
The key to including more whole grains in your diet is learning how to cook with them! Try some of these recipes to get started:
For science-based information about whole grains and health, visit www.healthygrains.ca