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Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Scientists are still uncovering all of the merits of whole grains. Basically, the point is that whole-grain foods retain the bran and germ as well as the endosperm or flour portion of the original grain. That makes them better sources of:
and other nutrients that are lost when the grain is refined for white rice or white flour. Even though some vitamins and minerals are added back to refined grains after they go through the milling process, they still aren't as good as the original.
The benefits of eating more whole grains are becoming clearer as scientists continue to examine the evidence. In fact, researchers analyzed several studies totaling 149,000 participants on the relation between whole grains and cardiovascular disease for the journal Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases. The findings, available online in April 2007, showed a consistent association between eating at least 2.5 servings of whole grains a day and good heart health. The health benefits, researchers found, include a lower incidence of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis, high blood pressure and inflammation.
In addition, the American Institute of Cancer Research suggests that diets rich in whole grains can reduce the incidence of certain types of cancer. Not only do whole grains contain fiber, vitamins, minerals and natural phytochemicals (plant compounds not designated as "nutrients" that can protect cells from damage that could lead to cancer), but eating more whole grains, fruits, vegetables and beans could reduce the amount of red meat and processed meat in our diet - foods linked to increased cancer risk.
To incorporate more whole-grain foods in your diet, choose:
For more ideas, see the Web site of the Whole Grains Council at http://www.wholegrainscouncil.org/.
This article originally appeared in Chow Line (3/23/08), a service of Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center and was adapted for use on NetWellness with permission, 2010.
Last Reviewed: Mar 30, 2010
Anne Smith, PhD, RD, MS
Professor Emeritus of Human Nutrition
College of Education and Human Ecology
The Ohio State University