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Check out this great guest post by writer Rebecca Joanne discussing the benefits of whole grains. Whole grains are such an important part of a balanced, healthy eating lifestyle and this article will explain why they are so important. See the whole article with these great facts below!

Increasing your whole grain intake is one of the best decisions you can do for your health. Brown rice, barley, millet, quinoa, oats, and other whole grains are some of nature’s most nutrient-packed ingredients. Eating more whole grains does not only improve your diet, but it can also boost your overall health and wellness.

Whole grains vs refined grains

The major difference between whole grains and refined grains is in the way they are produced. Whole grains are also referred to as unrefined grains because they undergo very minimal processing. Compared to refined grains like white rice, whole grains retain essential parts — namely the bran, endosperm, and germ. They contain many of the essential minerals and nutrients found in the grains, which are what make them the more nourishing option.

Why you should eat whole grains

• They have a high nutrient content.

Whole grains are a whole category of superfood on their own because of their nutritional value. They contain a whole host of antioxidants, healthy fats, essential vitamins, and minerals. For instance, brown rice contains manganese, selenium, and magnesium, which are essential for immune function, hormone production, and cellular production. They also help with antioxidant function, which is crucial to eliminating harmful substances in the body. White rice, on the other hand, is not a good source for these minerals (please note, white rice still has some benefit, but not nearly to the extent of brown rice).

• They promote digestion and lower the risk of obesity.

Whole grains are also rich in dietary fiber, which has many key functions in the body! It’s known to promote gut health and digestion. A recent study also found that dietary fiber can help prevent obesity because of its benefits to the gut microbiota. The fiber, with the variety of nutrients present in whole grains, helps counter weight gain, makes you feel full faster, and boosts metabolism.

• They boost cardiovascular health.

Controlling your weight through an increased intake of whole grains also promotes heart health. In fact, whole grains are highly recommended for the elderly because the food group can contribute to the management of factors associated with heart disease. Obesity is one, as well as high blood pressure and elevated blood glucose levels.

• They reduce inflammation.

Whole grains are also thought to be anti-inflammatory. They can help people with chronic illnesses like cardiovascular disease or rheumatoid arthritis by toning down systemic inflammation. Not only does dietary fiber have anti-inflammatory properties, but it also helps reduce body fat, which is linked to higher inflammation.

Incorporating whole grains to your diet

Incorporating whole grains into your diet doesn’t have to be so difficult. There are so many to choose from and play around with! What can help is to write a meal plan for the entire week to make sure that at least one meal a day consists of something whole grain-based. It can be a simple bowl, a salad, a soup or, if you’re really creative, whole grain baked goods! *Make sure you balance your whole grains with other food groups such as protein and healthy fats to get the maximum benefit.*

Meal prepping for several days is another way to cut down on cooking time. Try to come up with recipes that don’t spoil easily. You can cook whole grains in big batches as they store really well in the fridge. You can use small rice cookers to make up to six cups of cooked grains without too much fuss. It should be enough for a couple of meals for the rest of your week. And to mix things up, try building your own nutritious and delicious grain bowls, which are super simple to prepare. Using your whole grain of choice as the base, add a protein, vegetables, dressing or sauce, and some garnish. These popular whole grain bowls, which are very easy to recreate at home, are a great way to increase your whole grain consumption and reward your body with health-boosting benefits.

Thank you again to Rebecca Joanne for a great guest post.

I hope you all enjoyed and would love to hear any questions or comments you have!

Wishing you a healthy and happy week ahead,

Ricci-Lee Hotz, MS, RDN

Denver’s Dancing Dietitian

A Taste of Health, LLC

“Improving Quality of life one bite at a time”