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Whole grains that slash your risk of stroke

October 31st, 2012 | no comments

If you want to enjoy the many health benefits of whole grains—including reduced risk of stroke, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease—you’ll want to be able to identify whole grain foods and their serving sizes. You can tell if a grain is a whole grain by checking the food label. If the first ingredient is any of the following, then it’s a whole grain:

      • Amaranth*
      • Barley
      • Brown Rice*
      • Buckwheat*
      • Bulgur
      • Corn*
      • Kamut
      • Millet*
      • Oatmeal (including instant)
      • Popcorn
      • Oats*
      • Quinoa*
      • Rye
      • Sorghum*
      • Spelt
      • Teff
      • Triticale
      • Wheatberries
      • Wild Rice*
      • Stoneground whole (name of grain)
      • Whole (name of grain)
      • Whole grain (name of grain)
      • Whole wheat  

*Gluten-free grains

What counts as a serving of whole grain?

Many people are confused about what “a serving” of whole grain actually means (by the way…it’s not just whatever amount you feel like putting on your plate!) A serving is any one of the following:

  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice or other cooked grain
  • 1/2 cup cooked 100% whole-grain pasta
  • 1/2 cup cooked hot cereal, such as oatmeal
  • 1 slice 100% whole grain bread
  • 1 very small (1 oz.) 100% whole grain muffin
  • 1 cup 100% whole grain ready-to-eat cereal

Some whole grain foods – like crackers, waffles, granola bars, etc. – may count as 100% whole grain, but it’s often hard to know what constitutes a serving. Other foods might contain significant amounts of whole grain – but also contain some refined grain. It’s only logical that you’d have to eat a larger amount of those foods to get the same amount of whole grain. In both cases:

One serving of whole grain = 16 grams (16g) of whole grain ingredients.

Many food products actually list the grams of whole grain right on the front of the package. If they don’t, visit: http://www.wholegrainscouncil.org/find-whole-grains/stamped-products and search the database. The Whole Grains Food Council lists the grams of whole grain per serving for thousands of products lining your grocery store shelves.

Look for the Whole Grain Stamp

100% Stamp: all grain ingredients are whole grains. There is a minimum requirement of 16g (16 grams) – a full serving – of whole grain per labeled serving, for products using the 100% Stamp

Basic Stamp: at least 8g (8 grams) – a half serving – of whole grain, but may also contain some refined grain. Even if a product contains large amounts of whole grain (23g, 37g, 41g, etc.), it will use the Basic Stamp if it also contains extra bran, germ, or refined flour.

 How many servings should you eat?

For better health, you should aim for three servings—or 48 grams—of whole grains each day. It’s not difficult (and surprisingly tasty) to do. Eat the following tomorrow and you’re there:

Breakfast: 1 cup Kashi Honey Sunshine cereal = 20 grams of whole grain
Lunch: 1 La Tortilla Factory 100 Calorie Whole Wheat Tortilla = 20 grams of whole grain
Snack: 1 oz. Eatsmart Naturals Multigrain Tortilla Chips = 16 grams of whole grains

Total grams of whole grain = 56 grams (actually, you went above and beyond the recommended 48 grams!) Feels good to be an overachiever doesn’t it?

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