The whole is greater than the sum of its parts
September is whole grain month in the USA. So I thought I would give you the lowdown on what a whole grain is and how to get more whole grains onto your plate. You can also check out my easy picture swaps below.
Whole grains give you a whole bunch of nutrients: vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, phytonutrients, fibre and slow-release carbs. All these components are nutritious on their own, but put them together in a tiny grain of brown rice or whole wheat and you get a symphony of goodness.
Diets rich in whole grain foods are associated with reduced risks of non-communicable disease such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Whole grain intake has been inversely associated with long-term weight gain. And people who eat more whole grains also tend to have higher fruit & vegetable intakes, so they tend to have better overall diets.
In the US, experts recommend we eat at least 48g or three 16g servings of whole grain foods each day. In the UK, we don’t eat nearly this much. Most of our whole grain tends to come from breakfast cereals but there are lots of tasty ways to become wholy. And be careful when you choose your whole grain foods, since some manufactured products that boast a whole grain label may also be high in salt and sugar!
You get a 16g serving of whole grains from a slice of wholemeal bread, 2 heaped tablespoons of boiled brown rice (you can now get steamed pouches of basmati that cook in 2 minutes), 3 heaped tablespoons of brown pasta, a bowl of most whole grain breakfast cereals or 2 whole grain rice cakes. And here’s a good one – a mug of popcorn (yes, it’s a whole grain of corn) gives you 8 grams of whole grain.
You may only need to make a couple of simple swaps to get 48g in a day. And this could help you manage your blood cholesterol, blood sugar and your weight.
How will you get wholy this month?