Whole grains

Whole grains are nutritionally superior to refined grains.

They are rich in protein, dietary fiber, anti-oxidants, minerals and vitamins. In most grains, the starchy endosperm contains protein, carbohydrates, iron, B-vitamins and fiber.

The germ, a tiny speck located at one end of each kernel, contains oil rich in health-promoting omega-3 fatty acids.

The bran is one of the best sources of fiber available in the plant kingdom.

Of special significance is the fact that whole grains contain as much as four times more dietary fiber than their refined counterparts. Increasing fiber in the diet has been shown to reduce the incidence of coronary heart disease, obesity and some forms of cancer and diabetes.

Studies have also shown that a diet including at least three servings of whole grains per day can reduce the risk of developing asthma, lower blood pressure and prevent gum decay.

For detailed, up-to-date studies on the various health-promoting aspects of whole grains, visit www.wholegrainscouncil.org [1].

When whole grains are refined, as much as half of their nutritional value is lost.

For this reason, The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, released in January 2005, recommends that all adults eat at least half their grains as whole grains or at least 3 to 5 servings (3 to 5 ounces) per day of whole grains.

Courtesy of Lorna Sass on foodnetwork.com.