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Celebrate Whole Grains

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Whole Grains Linked with Longevity 

September is Whole Grains Month and a reminder that most of us aren’t eating enough of these healthful foods. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines recommends adults eat about three to five servings (a serving is one slice of bread or ½ cup cooked pasta or rice) per day and we recommend making all your grains whole if possible. What makes these foods so special? 

Whole grains pack a whole lot of nutrition because they’re, well, whole. Unlike refined grains, which have been milled down to just the endosperm, whole grains contain all the natural components of the grain seed: the bran, endosperm and germ. The bran and germ pack dietary fiber, iron, and B vitamins, and all this goodness is removed during refining. 

Research shows eating whole grains like brown rice, quinoa and farro can mean a whole lot of benefits for health. A 2016 review from Harvard looked at 14 different studies on whole grains including 786,076 participants. Overall, people who ate the most whole grains saw a 21% cardiovascular disease risk reduction compared with those who ate the least. Each additional two to three servings of whole grains per day were also linked with a 21% to 32% drop in diabetes risk. 

Adding more whole grains to your diet is easy with a few simple swaps. Make sandwiches on whole wheat bread (whole wheat should be the first ingredient on the label), opt for brown rice, and try whole wheat pasta instead of white counterparts. Feeling more adventurous? Ancient grains are becoming more widely available than ever. Try spelt, millet, barley, freekeh, bulgur, sorghum, amaranth, or buckwheat in recipes you’d normally use rice. 

Our Greens and Beans Fiesta Burrito Bowl is a flavorful dish made with brown jasmine rice—a crowd pleasing dish for both kids and adults. For more tasty ideas check out our Great Grains guide.

Published September 1, 2016

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