Diana Kelly Levey

Eat Whole Grains for a Healthy Ticker

loaf of whole grain bread for a healthy heart

November 14, 2017 | Categories:

Whole grains are great for your heart because, as part of an overall healthy diet, dietary fiber from whole grains might help reduce blood cholesterol levels. Dietary fiber from whole grains may help lower blood cholesterol levels when consumed as part of a heart-healthy diet. Also, whole grains contain a number of important nutrients necessary for good health, says registered dietitian and sports nutrition specialist Marie Spano.

Learn more about whole grain food trends.

The Institute of Medicine recommends most adults get between 25-38 grams of fiber daily, and the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that those over 9 years old get 3 to 5 servings of whole grains per day (at least half of your grains should be whole). The Dietary Guidelines also say, “moderate evidence shows that adults who eat more whole grains, particularly those higher in dietary fiber, have a lower body weight compared to adults who eat fewer whole grains.” Good sources of grain fiber include: amaranth, barley, buckwheat, bulgur wheat, Kamut® grain, oats, rye, triticale, and wheat.

Some “new” grains you’re hearing more about that you probably didn’t grow up eating are amaranth, sorghum and quinoa. “They’re popular now because they are all gluten free and also not commonly allergenic,” says Spano. They’re also good for you, delicious, and add variety to your meals! You can learn about all whole grains, their health benefits and how to prepare them on the Whole Grains Council website.

Amaranth is an ancient grain high in iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. It also has more protein than many grains (about 13-14%). There has been some research linking amaranth consumption to lower cholesterol numbers in animal studies, but more concrete evidences is still needed. Amaranth can be combined with other grains in breads and muffins, be made into a polenta and even “popped” over high heat and added to trail mixes, or just mixed with spices and seeds.

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Sorghum (also called milo) is often eaten like popcorn, cooked into porridge, or added in baked goods (substituted for wheat flour). “I love the sweet taste, flavor and color it brings to baked goods,” says Spano. Because its hull is edible it is commonly eaten with the hull and therefore retains its nutritional benefits. It’s rich in phytochemicals – healthy plaint compounds. 

Quinoa is higher in protein than many grains. It comes in black, yellow, red and white, though we commonly see it in white. “I love how easy quinoa is. You can use it in place of rice or couscous in many dishes, add it to soups to thicken them, make pilafs and more!” says Spano.

At breakfast time, it’s a good idea to choose whole grain cereals, or whole grain toast, waffles, or pancakes, says Spano. One cup of Kellogg’s Raisin Bran® cereal is made with whole grain wheat and wheat bran and contains 7 grams of dietary fiber!

At snack time, munch whole grain crackers, toast or even some whole grain chips (not multi-grain) and spread with hummus or almond butter, or dip them into salsa or low-fat dips.

At lunch and dinner, sandwiches made on whole grain bread or any number of dishes that incorporate oats, corn, bulgar, brown rice, teff, rye, buckwheat or other whole grains will help you get more whole grains in your diet. 

You can learn more about whole grain and their benefits for your heart on the FDA website here.  

 

 

This article was originally written for Kellogg’s content website.

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