Take charge of your health by eating more whole-grain foods. You'll get key vitamins, minerals and fiber you need to stave
How Many Grains Do I Need?
According to the MyPyramid healthy eating guide from the U.S.D.A., for a 2,000-calorie diet, you need about six servings of
grain products each day, and at least half those should be whole grains.
This hardy grain is a good source of fiber and potassium and is used frequently in cereals, breads, and soups. Two varieties
of barley. whole-grain (hulled) barley and pearl barley, are most often found at markets. Barley flour has a strong nutty
flavor when toasted; try adding it to breads. Pearl barley is a great source of fiber; 1/2 cup provides more than 12 grams.Recipe: Baked Barley with Shiitake Mushrooms and Caramelized Onions
Brown rice has twice the amount of fiber as white rice. When fiber is part of an overall healthy diet it can help reduce blood
cholesterol levels, lower risk of heart disease, and reduce constipation and diverticulosis.Recipe: Miso Chicken with Brown Rice
Whole grains such as buckwheat are sources of magnesium and selenium. Magnesium is a mineral used in building bones and releasing
energy from muscles. Selenium protects cells from oxidation. It is also important for a healthy immune system.Recipe: Smoked Salmon Buckwheat Pinwheels
Bulgur (cracked wheat)
Bulgur is wheat berries that have been steamed, dried, and then cracked. Whole grains such as bulgur are good non-meat sources
of iron, and the vitamin C in this recipe from orange juice and lime juice helps that iron to be better absorbed. The black
beans that are mixed in with the bulgur also provide iron and protein.Recipe: Mexican Bulgur Salad with Citrus-Jalapeno Vinaigrette
Its nutty flavor is temptation enough, but flaxseed is also a health powerhouse. Although it has the distinction of being
one of the oldest cultivated grains on the planet, flaxseed is a relative stranger to the American kitchen. It shouldn't be,
though. Not only does flaxseed's flavor transform cooking, but the tiny, reddish-brown seed is also a mini-bastion of nutrition
and other healthy properties. Among its bragging rights: fiber, lignans, and omega-3 fats.Recipe: Confetti Rice Pilaf with Toasted Flaxseed
Millet is a small, round yellow whole grain that's a staple in many parts of Asia, Europe and northern Africa. It's used mostly
for mixed dishes such as pilaf or casseroles, for cooked cereal, and can be ground into flour for bread.Recipe: Millet Muffins with Honey-Pecan Butter
The soluble fiber that's so plentiful in oatmeal and oat bran appears to help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart
disease. Oats also have plenty of vitamins B1, B2, and E and are low in calories–only 150 in a half-cup of dry oats, which
also provides 4 grams of dietary fiber.Recipe: Spiced Apple-Pecan Oatmeal
Quinoa (KEEN-wah) is an ancient grain that is a good alternative to rice because of its lightness. Try it for breakfast by
serving it with maple syrup and milk, adding it to pancake and muffin batter, or mixing it with potatoes for croquettes. The
tiny beige-colored seeds, about the size of pellets of couscous, cook in about 20 minutes. A good source of protein and fiber,
1/2 cup of quinoa has 14 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber.Click here for more ways to use quinoa.Recipe: Sausage and Bean Ragu on Quinoa Macaroni
Rye is most commonly seen as flour, both light and dark. Pumpernickel bread is made from dark rye flour. Also available are
whole rye berries, which are green and work nicely in salads–chewy and neutral in flavor, they hold their shape when cooked.
Rye is now often available rolled as well. Look for it in supermarkets or health-food stores. Rolled rye cooks quickly and
makes tasty breakfast cereals.Recipe: Rye Berry Salad with Orange Vinaigrette
A simple way to increase the whole grains in your diet is simply to replace regular white breads with whole wheat breads.
You get a double dose of grains in this yeast bread since it's got whole wheat flour and oats in addition to all-purpose flour.
If you're buying whole wheat bread, make sure it has "100 percent whole wheat" on the label instead of just "wheat bread".Recipe: Honey-Oatmeal Wheat Bread
Wheat is the world's largest cereal grass crop, with its thousands of varieties. A few common types are wheat berries (big,
chewy, unprocessed kernels of wheat), wheat bran (exterior layer of the wheat berry), and wheat germ. Wheat germ is a concentrated
source of vitamins and minerals, a quarter-cup contains 130 calories, 12 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber, and no sodium
or cholesterol. It offers about a third of the daily requirement for vitamin E, one of the antioxidant nutrients. Add to this
a little folic acid and a lot of trace minerals–zinc, iron, magnesium, manganese, and chromium–and you've got a powerhouse
in each bite.Recipe: Honeyed Yogurt and Mixed Berries with Whole-Grain Waffles
Although wild rice is technically a seed from a type of grass, it's often used in place of grains or mixed in with other grains.
Because it's a seed, it's a good source of protein, and like brown rice, high in fiber. Recipe:Wild Rice Stuffing