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Improve your health: Choose the right grains for the best nutrition

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Eating grains is a great way to improve your health with a diet rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber and plant chemicals also known as phytochemicals that will also help lower risk of disease. Not all grains are created equal. There are whole grains and refined grains.

Both grain types provide energy and can lower the risk of certain cancers, coronary heart disease and strokes. Refined grains have lower levels of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. They also lack the fiber that is one of the main reasons to switching to a diet rich in grains.

Whole grains are the better choice and provide the most for a healthier eating lifestyle. They also help keep blood sugar levels under control and aid in weight management.

The three parts of whole grains consists of the bran, the germ and the endosperm. The bran layer contains the most fiber and includes B vitamins, protein, iron and other minerals. The germ layer also contains fiber, iron, phytochemicals, and B vitamins and is a good source of vitamin E. The endosperm layer provides the starch or complex carbohydrates, little fiber, protein, iron and a few B vitamins. Only the endosperm layer is present in refined grains.

Whole grains that are packed with goodness to include in your diet are: barley, brown rice, bulgur, corn, millet, oatmeal, popcorn, quinoa, whole-grain pastas and whole-wheat breads.

Get the most out of your grain consumption by choosing whole grains!

© 2014 Beverly Mucha / All Rights Reserved

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