By: Rebecca Bennett, Clinical Dietician at MISH Hospital and Clinics' Kansas Institute of Medicine
September is National Whole Grains Month. In celebration, we’ll talk about the definition of a whole grain, why they are healthy for us and provide a recipe to try even more whole grains! A whole grain is simply a grain food eaten in its whole, unprocessed form. Examples of grains that can be eaten whole are wheat are corn, rice, oats, barley, quinoa, sorghum, spelt, and rye.
When manufacturers process the grains they typically remove the bran and germ leaving only the endosperm portion of the plant. The bran and germ contain antioxidants, many B vitamins and vitamin E, fiber and healthy fats that aren’t found in the endosperm only. Eating the whole grain (which is unprocessed meaning all parts of the grain are included) is much more nutritious.
Ensuring at least half of your daily grains are whole grains will help reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and obesity. Cholesterol levels can also be lowered. Eating just three servings of whole grains daily can reduce your risk of heart disease by 25-36% and stroke by as much as 37%!