(RxWiki News) In honor of September being Whole Grains Month, the Whole Grains Council is urging people to add more whole grains to their diets.
In whole grains, the entire grain has been left intact (unrefined). Conversely, in refined grains, certain parts of the grain have been removed, which also removes important nutrients.
To help people get more whole grains in their diet, the Whole Grains Council came up with a list of simple steps for people to try this month and hopefully beyond.
Some of their tips include swapping out potatoes for brown rice with dinner, trying a new breakfast cereal with at least 16 grams of whole grains per serving and making cookies with whole wheat flour instead of white flour.
"Add more whole grains to your diet."
Research has shown that there are a number of health benefits connected to diets high in whole grains, including improved digestion, lower risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease and more effective weight management.
The Whole Grains Council offers several simple recipes for people to try that all use whole grains. For those people who don't have time to make a meal, the Whole Grains Council also provides a list of chain restaurants that offer whole grain options like Panera, Au Bon Pain and Chipotle.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) also offers plenty of tips to help people eat more whole grains. Some of their tips include buying whole grain foods instead of refined foods (e.g., buying brown rice instead of white rice or whole wheat bread instead of white bread) and substituting whole wheat flour for white flour in flour-based recipes like pancakes or muffins.
The USDA recognizes that shopping for whole grain products can be difficult if you don't know what to look for, so their website also gives plenty of tips about what to look for when grocery shopping.
When looking at the ingredients in a product, choose foods that list one of the following ingredients first in the ingredients list: whole wheat, brown rice, buckwheat, bulgur, millet, oatmeal, quinoa, rolled oats, whole grain barley, whole oats, whole rye, whole grain corn, whole grain sorghum, whole grain triticale and wild rice.
The USDA also notes that foods labeled with the words "multigrain," "stone ground," "100% wheat," "cracked wheat," "seven grain" or "bran" are usually not whole grain products, and that consumers should not assume a food is whole grain just because it's brown. Checking the ingredients list on food labels for one of the items listed above is the best way to make sure you're buying a whole grain product.
While whole grains are a key part of a healthy diet, it is important to still pay attention to sugar and salt content when choosing foods with whole grains, and to try to find whole grain products that are high in fiber.
On their website, the USDA notes that consumers should strive to make at least half of the grains in their diet whole grains.
More information about whole grains and Whole Grains Month can be found on the Whole Grains Council's website.