Whole Grains – Life Insurance for Your Heart

Learn some simple ways to introduce whole grains into your diet and ensure you lower your risk of heart disease along with a host of other benefits when combined with a healthy lifestyle.


Whole grains contain nutrients, including protein, fibre, B vitamins, antioxidants, and trace minerals. As part of a healthy diet, whole grain has been seen to reduce the risk of heart disease by helping to lower your cholesterol and your blood pressure. Combined with moderating alcohol, gentle exercise and having a diet low in fat and cholesterol, whole grains can also help in the battle against obesity. Eating a diet that has the recommended daily amount of whole grain foods can alsohelp to regulate blood sugar levels and so help prevent type 2 diabetes. Making the lifestyle change of introducing whole grain to your diet will also encourage the development of healthy bacteria in the colon which will improve your bowel movements. The high number of antioxidants found in such grains can help protect from some forms of cancer.


In spite of the benefits a huge number of people do not consume the recommended daily intake of three portions a day. This is hugely attributed to the confusion on packaging; many products appear to be whole grain but actually are not. For a product to be whole grain it must contain all the parts of the edible grain, products marketed as “multigrain” or “bran” whilst having a place in a healthy diet, they are a good sourceof complex carbohydrates and some key vitamins and mineral and naturally low in fat, they are actually not whole grain.


The six most recognisable foods that contain a whole grain product are:  

1. Whole-grain corn
2. Whole oats/oatmeal
3. Popcorn
4. Brown rice
5. Whole rye
6. Whole-grain barley

The biggest assumption made when shopping for whole grain is that it is contained in all bread this is a misconception. When buying bread, if you are looking for whole grain, avoid those that use “refined” flour. Even some products that contain “100% wheat” have had parts of the
bran stripped from the kernel so whilst correctly labelled they are not whole grain. To be sure you are purchasing a bread product made from whole grain then look for “whole grain” as part of the ingredients.


Changing your lifestyle to introduce whole grain to your diet.

The first thing to change in your diet to make it rich in whole grain is to switch to whole grain bread and brown rice. Just making your sandwiches for lunch with whole grain bread will give you one third of your daily allowance. For breakfast it is easy to introduce a whole grain cereal or if cereal is not your thing there is now a wide range of English muffins, waffles, bagels, and crackers on the market with whole grain in the ingredients.


There are also some less known whole grain products that you may like to consider:

1. Farro: A dense and chewy grain brought to the market with a minimum of processing

2. Bulgur: A nutty grain that is low in fat and high in fibre.

3. Buckwheat: A grain that has a higher amount of zinc, copper and manganese than any other grain and the second highest quantity of protein and fibre.

Whatever you choices a small number of dietary changes will have a massive impact on your health insuring you stay healthier for longer.

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