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Know Your Whole Grains
Eating more whole grains is an easy way to add a layer of " health insurance" to your life. Whole grains are packed with nutrients, including protein, fibre, B vitamins, antioxidants, and trace minerals (iron, zinc, copper, and magnesium). A diet rich in whole grains has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and some forms of cancer. Whole-grain diets also improve bowel health by helping to maintain regular bowel movements and promote growth of healthy bacteria in the colon.

A whole grain contains all edible parts of the grain, including the bran, germ, and endosperm. The whole grain may be used intact or recombined, as long as all components are present in natural proportions. The following is a few list of whole grains:

  • Whole-grain corn
  • Whole oats/oatmeal
  • Popcorn
  • Brown rice
  • Whole rye
  • Whole-grain barley
  • Wild rice
  • Buckwheat
  • Triticale
  • Bulgur (cracked wheat)
  • Millet
  • Sorghum
  • 100% whole wheat flour

It is  important to check the ingredient list for the word "whole" preceding the grain (such as "whole wheat flour"). Ideally, the whole grain will be the first ingredient in the list, indicating that the product contains more whole grain than any other ingredient.
One way to find whole grains is to look for the approved health claims. Diets rich in whole grain foods and other plant foods and low in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease. This is found on whole-grain products that contain at least 51% whole grain ingredients (by weight) and are also low in fat.
The amount of grains you need daily varies based on your age, sex, and physical activity level. In general, adults need between 5 to 8 ounce equivalents of grains each day, and at least half are recommended to come from whole grains. Examples of an ounce equivalent include 1 slice of bread, 1 cup of cereal, 1/2 cup of cooked pasta or rice..

More Whole Grain Products
The good news is that whole grains are not necessarily brown or only found in adult cereals. You can find them throughout the food supply, including many processed foods. These "white whole-grain" and other half-whole-wheat products are a great way to transition into eating more whole grains, particularly if your kids are turning their noses up at them.

Whole Grains and Fibre
Whole grains can be an excellent source of fibre. But not all whole grains are good sources of fibre. Whole wheat contains among the highest amount of fibre of the whole grains. Brown rice contains the least. For most people, whole grains are their diet's best source of fibre. Most whole-grain sources yield from 1-4 grams of fibre per serving, comparable to fruits and vegetables, and just the right amount when spread throughout the day.

8 Easy Ways to Get More Whole Grains into Your Diet
Whole grains taste and feel different to the mouth, and therefore it takes time to adjust to these new grains.
Here are eight easy ways to work more whole grains into your daily diet:

  1. Choose whole-grain breads, cereals, English muffins, waffles, bagels, and crackers. Enjoy a sandwich at lunch with two slices of whole-grain bread, or a whole-grain pita or wrap, and you're two-thirds of the way toward meeting your goal.
  2. Eat popcorn.  A study in the 2008 May issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that people who regularly ate popcorn averaged 2.5 servings of whole grains per day, while non-popcorn eaters got less than one serving.
  3. Make your snacks whole grain. Snacks account for one-third of whole-grain consumption - just make sure you choose the right ones. Check the label, because even though it is made with a whole grain, it could still be high in fat, calories, and sodium.
  4. Start your day with a bowl of whole-grain cereal. Keep in mind that even when a product is made from whole grain, it's not necessarily healthy. Read the label and select cereals based on the whole-grain content and amount of sugar it contains. The less sugar, the better.
  5. Add whole grains to your baked goods. Try blending half whole-wheat flour with all-purpose flour to boost the whole-grain content of your baked goods. You can also use white wheat flour. Another option is to replace one-third of the flour with whole-grain oats.
  6. Choose brown rice and whole-wheat or blended pasta. Cook up a batch of brown rice and keep it in your refrigerator for 4-5 day and eat on it throughout the week. If time is an issue, there are ready brown rice products. Try whole-grain pasta, or some of the blended pastas made with a mix of whole and refined grains. Don't be put off by the dark colour of whole-grain pasta. It becomes much lighter when it is cooked.
  7. Experiment with different grains. Add uncooked oats to meatloaf or stir oats into yogurt for crunch and added nutrition.
  8. Start your kids off right. Expose your kids to whole grains at an early age. For older kids, try the white whole-wheat flour, and incorporate whole grains into foods that have other flavours such as French toast. Serve burgers on whole-grain buns or brown rice with veggies. Try whole-wheat pitas as crusts for make-your-own individual pizzas.