People who eat whole grains as part of a healthy diet have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases. Grains are important sources of many nutrients, including fiber, B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and folate) and minerals (iron, magnesium and selenium). USDA’s MyPlate recommends making half of your daily grain choices whole grain for healthy eating.
Try adding flaxseed and oatmeal, which contain phytochemicals that are being studied for added health benefits, to your balanced diet.
Dietary fiber from whole grains, as part of an overall healthy diet, helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower risk of heart disease. Fiber is important for healthy bowel function and helps reduce constipation.
B vitamins help the body release energy from protein, fat and carbohydrates. Iron is used to carry oxygen in the blood. Magnesium is a mineral used in building bones and releasing energy from muscles. Selenium is important for a healthy immune system.
Grains: Health Benefits
Consuming foods rich in fiber, such as whole grains, as part of overall healthy eating, reduces the risk of coronary heart disease and may reduce constipation.
High-fiber foods such as whole grains help provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories. Selecting whole grains for at least half your daily servings may help maintain your weight. Incorporate whole grains into your healthy eating plan by adding a whole wheat bagel or toast to breakfast, a sandwich on whole wheat bread at lunch or whole wheat pasta with dinner.
In addition to the basic benefits of grains, they help maintain optimum health due to the phytochemicals they contain – many of which are still being identified.
Three to eight ounces of grains are recommended each day, depending on how many calories you need. About one-half of these should be whole grains.