All about whole grains

Eating whole grains can reduce risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity, type 2 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, constipation and colorectal cancer. Whole grains are rich in antioxidants that help prevent damage to the body. The fiber in whole grain foods helps you feel full faster and regulates bowel functions.

Whole grains have fiber, vitamins, minerals and more. Good examples of whole grain foods include:

  • Whole-grain pasta.
  • Whole-grain bread.
  • Whole-grain crackers.
  • Brown or wild rice.
  • Barley.
  • Low-fat popcorn.
  • Oatmeal.

A good way to see if food contains whole grains is to look for a whole grain stamp. This stamp means the food has at least half a serving of whole grains.

If you can’t find a stamp, check the product’s ingredient list. Food with whole grain listed as the first or second ingredient can be good for you. Don’t be fooled by products that include enriched flour at the beginning of the ingredient list – these are not whole grain!

According to the Whole Grains Council, an average person eats less than one serving of whole grains per day. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s choosemyplate.gov recommends at least three servings or more of whole grains each day. Encourage your family to eat healthier by gradually introducing more whole-grain products. The benefits will do you a whole lot of good.

~ Heather Fortin, RD, CSP, CD, clinical dietitian specialist, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin with Stacy Brand, RD, CD, manager, Patient Services, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin

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