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Whole Grain Benefits

Antioxidants protect against the oxidative cell damage that can cause a variety of deadly diseases. Many people are aware that fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants, but few know that whole grains are also rich sources of these beneficial substances.

Modern diets are abundant in refined grains such as white flour and white rice, which have been stripped of much of their nutritional value during processing. Whole grains contain the plant’s embryo (germ) and food for that embryo (endosperm), as well as a protective covering (bran). These parts of the grain contain many health-promoting ingredients including antioxidants, dietary fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Research has shown that regular consumption of whole grains reduces the risk of disease and helps to maintain a lower body weight:

  • A meta-analysis of 40 cancer studies found that those who eat diets rich in whole grains significantly reduce their risk of many cancers (Linus Pauling Institute, 2009).
  • Several large-scale studies have shown that eating three or more servings of whole grains per day (especially oats) can lower blood glucose, reducing the likelihood of developing diabetes (Rajasree & Raghesh, 2009).
  • Many large studies have found that eating whole grains regularly reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke (Anderson & Hanna, 1999).
  • A long-term study of more than 200,000 nurses found that those who ate whole grains regularly tended to weigh less on average and were less likely to become obese than nurses who ate little dietary fiber.

Whole grains include brown rice, whole wheat, barley, oats, corn, sorghum, and triticale. A serving of whole grains provides an antioxidant boost similar to that of a serving of fruits or vegetables. Some examples of whole grain single servings include:

  • Half a cup of brown rice, whole wheat pasta, or cooked oatmeal
  • One slice of whole wheat bread
  • A six-inch corn tortilla
  • Three cups of popped popcorn
  • One cup of whole grain flaked cereal

Eat whole grains daily to increase your likelihood of enjoying a long and healthy life.

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