Grains are one of the most controversial food groups and the role they play in a healthy, balanced diet often tend to be questioned. The reality is that whole grains are an integral part of a healthy diet.
The U.S. Dietary Guidelines are research-based recommendations that promote the most nutritious way of eating for Americans. The most recent guidelines state that grains are essential for healthy eating patterns and recommended that adults include three servings of whole grains into their daily diet.
Whole grains are grains that are intact from harvest. No processing has been done to alter the grain, unlike more commonly consumed refined grains. Refined grains go through processing after harvest to remove the fibrous parts of the grain for a softer, more usable texture in foods. In this refining process, the grains lose much of their nutrition (iron and B vitamins), which makes refined grains less healthy.
Single ingredient whole grains include:
Whole grains foods include:
Read the ingredient list to find out if a product is whole grain. For a product to be whole grain, the word “whole” must come first in the list. For example: whole grain, whole wheat, or sprouted whole grain). If it says refined or enriched, it is NOT considered to be whole grain, even if it “contains” whole grains.
What is a serving of whole grain food?
With over 13 essential vitamins and minerals in just one serving, it is rare to find a food with so much nutrition. Even if you are intolerant or allergic to grains, such as gluten in wheat, you can benefit from the nutrition of whole grains by choosing wisely. So, find those quality whole grain foods you enjoy and make them a priority in your daily eating plan. Remember, three servings a day is what to aim for!
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