Friday, January 14, 2011
ROCHESTER, Minn. — For adults older than 50, eating just three 1-ounce equivalents of whole grains a day — instead of a comparable amount of refined grains — can help prevent disease and maintain a healthy weight.
The January issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter covers whole grains, their health benefits and ways to add more to the diet.
Whole grains include any type of grain that has been minimally processed so the edible components of the grain kernel — the bran, germ and endosperm — remain. In contrast, refined grains are processed so most of the bran and some of the germ are removed. Processing removes the most nutrient-rich portion of the grain.
Whole grains come in many forms. Examples of 1-ounce whole-grain servings include one slice of whole-wheat bread, ½ cup cooked oatmeal, a 6-inch whole-wheat tortilla or 3 cups of popped popcorn. Other whole-grain sources range from the familiar brown rice, corn and buckwheat to the less familiar black and red rice, amaranth, millet and quinoa (KEEN-wah).
Research indicates that regular consumption of whole grains — especially when substituted for refined grain — is associated with a healthy weight, improvement in cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, reduced risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, and prevention of certain cancers.
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