Nowadays, there can be a lot of questions about “whole” foods. Whole grains, whole wheat, and whole health are the buzzwords we toss around without fully understanding the difference between all of them.
To help distinguish why whole grains are, in fact, one of the healthiest foods you can have in your diet we’ve created a quick break-down of some of the most common questions our expert nutritionists hear about these ingredients!
What makes whole grains so beneficial?
Whole grains, like barley or oats, still have their outer shell, or bran, which contains important fiber and B vitamins; the germ, which contains disease-preventing compounds called phytochemicals; and the endosperm, which is composed of carbs and protein. When grains are processed or refined they lack the bran and the germ – in addition to all the healthy micronutrients they contain.
How do I find whole grains?
Look for foods mad with unrefined (unprocessed) flours and grains such as millet, bulgur, and whole wheat, which contain the most whole grains. Brown rice, soba noodles, whole-wheat bagels, barley, and oatmeal are all great sources of whole grains.
When shopping for whole grain foods, look for terms such as “100% whole grain” or “100% whole oats.” Sometimes manufacturers advertise products as “whole grain,” when they only contain small amounts of whole grains.
What are the health benefits of eating whole grains?
A diet rich in whole grains can:
- Lower your risk of heart disease.
- Regulate your blood sugar levels.
- Help you feel full and lose weight.
- Keep your digestive system regular.
How can I incorporate more whole grains into my diet?
- Eat whole-grain breakfast cereals, such as bran flakes, shredded wheat, or oatmeal.
- Make sandwiches with whole-grain breads.
- Serve brown rice, soba noodles, or bulgur side dishes instead of pasta or white rice.