Whole Grains & Heart Health
There’s a whole lot to love about whole grains. They’re minimally processed with impressive nutrient-rich profiles that offer an array of benefits like lowering the risk of diabetes and some cancers. But their contribution to heart health is incredibly notable and an excellent reason to boost your whole grain intake.
The Key Components & Benefits
What differentiates whole grains from refined grains is that they contain all three parts of the grain where the nutrients lie: the bran, germ and endosperm. Compared to other types of grains, whole grains are better sources of important nutrients like fiber that reduces cholesterol levels and the risk of cardiovascular disease and B vitamins that help our cells function at their best.
Studies show that eating whole grains lowers the risk of heart disease and can reduce early symptoms and risk factors related to heart health such as high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Research also suggests that people who eat more whole grains are better able to maintain their blood sugar and blood pressure over time.
Treat your heart to unique yet approachable whole grain varieties that make a flavorful, heart-healthy addition to all kinds of meals.
Bulgur: Made up of cracked wheat berries that are partially precooked for easy preparation, bulgur is best known for its leading role in the Mediterranean grain salad tabbouleh. Add this nourishing, fiber-rich whole grain to falafel, stuffed eggplant, Greek salad-stuffed pita pockets, or toss it with cucumbers, tomatoes, parsley and lemon juice for an easy, homemade tabbouleh.
Quinoa: Quinoa is a quick-cooking, gluten-free whole grain that’s rich in plant-based protein, manganese, phosphorus and magnesium. It has a fluffy texture and is available in red, black and white varieties. Use versatile quinoa as a meat alternative in tacos or to fortify chili, soups, salads or burgers.
Oats: All oats are whole grains containing varying servings of essential nutrients and fiber. There’s a variety to choose from, including old-fashioned oats and steel-cut oats, and oatmeal isn’t the only way to enjoy them. Add this heart-smart grain to meals throughout the day, from pancakes, quick breads and muffins to eggs and meatloaf.
Farro: This ancient grain is an excellent source of fiber, iron, protein and magnesium, and can provide an array of benefits for heart health. Farro is prized for its al dente texture that adds heft to soups, breakfast bowls and salads. When mixed with vinaigrettes or dressings ahead of time, it will soak up all that delicious flavor.