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Whole Grains 101

Grains high in soluble fiber can help lower cholesterol levels and regulate insulin in the blood.
Grains high in soluble fiber can help lower cholesterol levels and regulate insulin in the blood.

There is a growing awareness of the importance of the quality, as much as the quantity, of grains in the diet. An increased consumption of whole grains reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Data from the Physicians Health Study, in which more than 86,000 male physicians participated, showed a significant reduction in the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and death from all causes in the men eating the greatest quantity of whole-grain cereals compared with those of the men eating the fewest servings of whole-grain cereals. The Women's Health Study followed almost 35,000 women aged 55 to 69 and found that the more whole grains eaten, the lower the risk of dying from heart disease. Another study found that adults with the highest intake of whole grains were 35 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those with the lowest intake. There is also growing evidence that eating whole grains instead of refined varieties can reduce your risk of developing cancer.

Whole vs. Refined

Refined grain products, including flours, breads, and breakfast cereals, are fortified with iron, thiamine, riboflavin, folic acid and niacin.  Despite the additions, refined products still have less vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber than whole-grain products.                                                                                                     Whole grains contain B vitamins, vitamin E, and an assortment of phytochemicals including lignans, saponins, and plant sterols. products made from whole grains retain most of their nutritive value; their high fiber content also adds texture and is filling.

What Is Quinoa?  This low carbohydrate, high protein grain is currently widely used in vegan and vegetarian diets quinoa high in protein.  The protein it supplies has a complete protein profile, meaning it includes all nine essential amino acids. Not only is quinoa's amino acid profile well balanced, making it a good choice for individuals concerned about adequate protein intake, but quinoa is especially well-endowed with the amino acid lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair. In addition to protein, quinoa features a host of other health-building nutrients. Because quinoa is a very good source of manganese as well as a good source of magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus, this "grain" may be especially valuable for persons with migraine headaches, diabetes and atherosclerosis.