Increase Whole Grain Intake For Better Health

The food pyramid put out by the USDA discusses the inclusion of more grains in your diet. They are good for energy and lowering cholesterol levels. If you are not getting any whole grain or very little, here are a few suggestions to increase whole grain intake for better health.

There are many rumors about whole grains. What makes them whole? The myths are about to be dispelled right here. First of all, a whole grain means that it contains all the parts of the grain itself: bran, endosperm and germ. Without all three, you are not reaping the most benefit from your food.

Many products have wording on their packages to the effect of “100% wheat”, “7-grain” or even “wheat bran.” This does not guarantee that these products contain a whole grain. They may contain some part of the grain but not all of the components. Check the ingredient label and look for the words “whole grain” to confirm its nutritional value.

When you learn to identify “whole wheat” products, you can begin finding ways to integrate them into your lifestyle. Whole grain products are lower on the glycemic index. This is a scale used to measure how a certain carbohydrate will impact your blood sugar. If it keeps it steady, then the number is usually lower than 50 on the scale. Values above 50 are thought to spike blood sugar.

Types of whole grains include:

– Bulgur
– Quinoa
– Millet
– Amaranth
– Barley

These grains and others can be found in ground form, flakes, small pellet-like consistency and whole. Here are a few ways to increase whole grain intake.

* Pasta – If you like to eat pasta, look for whole grain varieties. The pasta is a little darker in color but contains fewer sugars.

* Casseroles – Many are made with rice like white rice. Instead, substitute brown rice, bulgur wheat or other favorite grains. When you mix it with the vegetables and other ingredients, your family will never know.

* Soups – Home-made soup tastes better than any can variety. When you are deciding what vegetables and meats to add, throw in a bit of barley. It makes a great addition that doesn’t change the taste. What it does do is help fill you up sooner so that you eat less and stay energized all day.

* Breakfast foods – Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Especially when you have a long day you’ll want to start out right. Make a bowl of oatmeal and top with a few sliced fruits. It will stick to your ribs for sure. Whole grain cereals without added sugar are also another option.

To increase whole grain intake in your diet for better health, make substitutions where possible. The biggest part is to learn how to identify these grains to make better choices.