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Go With The Whole Grain

Armen Hareyan's picture

(NC) - How can consumers break through the clutter to make the right choices when it comes to grains? It appears there is a whole lot of confusion about whole grains.

"Consumers often mistake multigrain or 100% wheat products as being whole grain foods," says Sue Mah, registered dietitian and sports nutritionist, "The truth is that neither are whole grains. Multigrain simply means that more than one grain has been used in the recipe. 100% wheat means that wheat is the only grain that is present in the food. On the other hand, whole wheat is indeed a whole grain."

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Understanding what a whole grain is and its benefits is important. In the past, whole grains were seen largely as a vehicle for fibre. As a component of whole grain, fibre contributes to the health benefits of whole grain.

However, whole grains also contain vitamins, minerals and literally hundreds of phytonutrients, including phytoestrogens, antioxidants and phenols. These compounds work together with fibre to play an important role in helping to reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

With whole grains, the whole truly is greater than the sum of each individual part. Whole grain foods contain all three layers of the grain: the bran (containing the fibre), the endosperm (containing carbs and proteins) and the germ (containing B and E vitamins). Each layer is packed with important nutrients, and together, they work to help lower blood cholesterol, manage your weight and reduce your chances of developing heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

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