Decisions, decisions…There is so much talk today about what to and what not to consume. One day something is good for you (think chocolate, coffee, and red wine), the next day it’s not.
So what’s up with grains? Are they or aren’t they good for us? What grains should we consider? How much should we eat? What are the benefits?
The Great Debate: Whole Grains vs Processed Grains
Whole grains are just that, they are in their natural state. Nothing has been done to modify the grain. Processed grains have been cracked, crushed, rolled, and/or cooked. A diet that is a 50%-50% mix is acceptable. However, there is a lot to be said about incorporating more whole grains into your diet.
Whole grains include and are not limited to:
- brown rice – one of the healthiest types of rice
- wild rice – found naturally in the majority of U.S. states
- oats/oatmeal – a great way to start the day
- popcorn – nothing goes better with a movie and your favorite beverage
- wheat – the most widely cultivated cereal crop in the world
- corn – summer barbeques and corn on the cob. It is one of the sweetest tasting grains.
- rye – mmm…how about some pastrami to go with that rye bread?
- Barley – a versatile cereal grain
Whole grains provide many sources of nutrients including B vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and folate (B1, B2, B3 and B9). Other nutrients include potassium, magnesium, selenium, fiber and iron. Whole grains also contain complex carbohydrates, minerals and antioxidants. They are naturally low in fat.
How many servings of whole grains should we eat?
According to the American Heart Association, it depends on your age, gender, and calorie needs. The Association recommends, at least, half of the grains you consume should be whole grains.
Benefits of whole grains
Whole grains have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, certain cancers, and other health problems. Studies have shown that people who eat 3 daily servings of whole grains have reduced their risk of heart disease by 25% to 36%, stroke by 17%, Type II diabetes by 21% to 27%, and certain cancers by 10% to 43%.
It’s Up to You
Whole grains vs processed grains, it’s a personal choice. As with all health decisions, consult a dietician or your doctor for further advice.
From all of us at Camden, we encourage you to get your grain on in 2016. We wish you and yours a happy and healthy 2016!