Did you know that people who eat whole grains have a reduced risk of chronic diseases?

It’s the whole of the whole grain including vitamins, minerals and complex carbohydrates, that protects the body against many diseases.

But what’s a grain you may ask? Grains are split into two subgroups, whole grains and refined grains. Stay away from the refined grain as all the goodness has been stripped away. Forget white rice and pasta, they don’t do anything for you. The whole grain contains the entire grain kernel – the bran, germ and endosperm. These are brimming with goodness for you.

But what exactly is a whole grain? Whole grains include: Wheat, Oat, Barley – Hulled and Dehulled (not Pearl), Maize, Brown rice, Farro, Spelt, Rye, Millet, Quinoa, Amaranth, Sprouted Grains and Buckwheat. Whole grain products include: Whole wheat flour, Whole wheat bread, Whole wheat pasta, Rolled oats and Popcorn.

Read on to find out how you can start eating more every day to help prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.

1. Go 50:50

If you can’t make the switch to eating 100% whole grains, 100% of the time then try going 50:50.  Half white rice, half brown rice, half white pasta, half whole grain pasta. Gradually increase the whole grain/whole wheat part until you eat 100% whole grain.

2. Simple Switching

Instead of eating white bread for your lunchtime sandwich, or having a white roll with your soup, swap white for brown and eat 100% whole wheat bread.

3. Does cooking whole grains take more time that you want?

Then why don’t you save time and cook double the quantity when you’re cooking bulgur wheat or barley? Freeze half and eat half so when you’re in a hurry you can quickly use the frozen portion later.

4. Secretly add them

Are you struggling to add whole grains to your meals? If you are then why don’t you add some barley to your soups and stews and bulgur wheat to your stir fries and casseroles? You can also add quinoa to your green salad.

5. Ignore what the packaging says. Read the nutrition label instead.

Just because it looks like a whole grain product doesn’t mean it is. Did you know that bread can be coloured brown using molasses or caramel colour? Some are called “multi-grain,” “stone-ground,” “100% wheat,” “cracked wheat,” “seven-grain,” or “bran” but they’re usually not 100% whole-grain products, and may not contain any whole grain.

Read the nutrition label instead. Try and make sure that the ingredient list always starts with “whole wheat,” “brown rice,” “bulgur,” “buckwheat,” “oatmeal,” “whole-grain cornmeal,” “whole oats,” “whole rye,” or “wild rice” as this indicates that it’s the number one ingredient.

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But, I also want to finish off with a question that I’d like you to answer…

What do you think? Do you manage to eat a good range of whole grains each day? Let me know what you think below.