Heart Healthy Benefits of Whole Grains
Whole grains and high-fiber foods are an important part of a heart healthy diet. You need to aim for 6 servings of grains each day, with at least 3 from whole grains. They contain important vitamins, minerals, soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber has been show to help lower blood levels of harmful LDL cholesterol. Since insoluble fiber is digested slowly, it helps stabilize blood glucose levels and makes you feel full, which can help prevent overeating and weight gain.
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Sources of Whole Grains
You should try to eat a variety of whole-grain breads and rolls, cereals, and pastas. Choose high-fiber breads and rolls, such as whole wheat, oats, oatmeal, whole rye, whole-grain corn and buckwheat. Make sure that whole grains are listed as the first item in the ingredient list. Melba toast and whole wheat pita bread are good for snacking. Some good whole grain side dish choices are brown rice, wild rice, bulgur, barley, millet and quinoa. These choices are good for you, and add flavor and texture to your meal, are low in calories, and are affordable. They can be prepared in fat-free, low-sodium broth for a delicious side dish or part of an entree.
Whole Grains Nutrition Label Requirements
- Total Fat: Less than 6.5 g
- Saturated Fat: 1 g or less and 15% or less calories from saturated fat
- Trans Fat: Less than 0.5 g (also per label serving)
- Cholesterol: 20 mg or less
- Sodium: 480 mg or less (also per label serving)
- Beneficial Nutrients: 10% or more of the Daily Value Of 1 of 6 nutrients (vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium, protein or dietary fiber)
How We’ve Adapted to Whole Grains
We hadn’t eaten whole grains before we started our heart healthy diet, so I was a little wary of how they would taste. So far, we’ve liked all the whole grains we’ve tried. We use Orowheat whole wheat bread to make our sandwiches, when we have toast, and for homemade breadcrumbs. I have some recipes that use white whole wheat flour in them, like apple muffins and snickerdoodles, and you wouldn’t even know it’s in there! Also, my husband is Filipino, so he’s eaten a ton of white rice his whole life! If he was able to make the switch to brown rice, anyone can! Even his mom, when she visited last time, told me I don’t need to make her a special pot of white rice next time she comes, she said she’ll eat the brown rice like us. So, if we can make the switch, so can you!
Do you have any favorite whole grain products?