Heart Healthy Diet Tip #1

Eat More Whole Grains!

Whole grains include grains such as wheat, rice, barley, oats, corn and quinoa. Of course for it to be “whole grain” the grain “kernel” must contain 3 essential parts. These parts are the bran, endosperm and germ. When refined, the bran and germ are usually removed, which removes or greatly reduces many key nutrients such as fiber, B vitamins, vitamin e, phytochemicals and minerals. If it doesn’t say “whole grain” on the label, it most likely isn’t.

The Harvard School of Public Health recently analyzed data from two large prospective studies and estimated that every serving of whole grains (28g) consumed per day was associated with a 9% lower mortality rate from cardiovascular disease.

So what can I do to increase my consumption of whole grains?

1. Switch grains that you already consume to whole grains.
Instead of buying white bread, get whole wheat bread for your sandwiches.
Use brown or wild rice instead of white rice.
Use whole wheat pasta for your pasta dishes.

It does taste different and it can be a bit of an adjustment so you might want to try making your changes in strongly flavored dishes first. For example, if you cover your pasta in a flavorful tomato sauce the change might be less noticible than if you are eating it with simpy an oil or butter sauce.

2. Add healthy whole grain snacks
Instead of munching on potato chips try popcorn! Popcorn in itself is whole grain but the problem is when companies add lots of oil, butter flavoring and salt to make it a less than ideal snack so you have to be careful what kind you choose. You can air pop corn yourself but if you are like me and a little on lazy side that air popper with never be used. If you are looking for a more convenient way, a bagged popcorn such as BOOM CHICKA POP is a great choice. Their sea salt version contains only 140 calories and 90mg of sodium for 4 cups.
Other heart healthy whole grain snacks include whole wheat bread or toast with peanut butter and baked whole grain pita chips with hummus.

3. Experiment with whole grains and flavors you never tried
Trying new things can be fun and you may find your new favorite food….
Try making a cranberry and kale quinoa salad or make buckwheat flour pancakes!

http://cookieandkate.com/2013/buckwheat-pancakes/
http://greenvalleykitchen.com/quinoa-kale-cranberry-pecan-salad/

References and Resources

http://wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-grains-101/what-is-a-whole-grain

http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2087877

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