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Whole Grains to Live Longer

Por Lucky Barillas, Nutrition Counselor, MyDiet™ Team -

Eating healthy it is not only about losing weight; it also helps decrease one’s risk for chronic diseases that are associated with being overweight or obese. And the solution is simple: a balanced diet and a regular exercise program.

It has been known for quite some time that a balanced diet means eating foods, in the appropriate portions, from all food groups. However, not only is the portion size important, but the types of foods we select are as well. Grains and cereals offer us some great choices. 

Grains and cereals, as a food group, include bread, pasta, rice, breakfast cereals, oatmeal, and cookies, among others. The key is to pick whole grains, which have many beneficial properties:

  • They help reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
  • The fiber they contain helps reduce the levels of “bad” (LDL) cholesterol, and regulate digestion.
  • May contribute to weight loss, since their fiber content slows down gastric emptying, and this also helps a person to eat less.

The American Heart Association recommends aiming for 6 daily servings of whole grains to gain these benefits. Follow these tips to accomplish this recommendation:

  • At breakfast: Replace sugary or low-fiber cereals with whole wheat cereals or oatmeal. With this, you should also include a serving of fruit.
  • For your snacks: You can eat whole wheat crackers, carrots with a yogurt dressing, or fruit.
  • At lunch: Include with your main dish, a serving of brown rice, whole grain pasta, or a slice of whole wheat bread.  
  • At dinner: Include legumes, such as beans, chickpeas, or lentils.
  • When reading food labels: Search for the word “whole” within the ingredients list. It is better if the ingredient that has this description is the first or second of the list.

With these small changes alone, you will be able to accomplish the goal of eating 6 daily servings of whole grains, and this will help you prevent several chronic diseases.


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