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Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Goodness of Grains





Lets talk Carbohydrates! - In recent years Carbs have gotten a bad rap mainly due to several popular diets. However, carbs are not all bad or all good. Some carbs promote health while others, when eaten in abundance, can increase ones risk for diabetes and heart disease.







Carbohydrates are most commonly found in grains and grains are generally divided into 2 subgroups, Whole Grains and Refined Grains. Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel while refined grains have been processed to remove the bran and germ. Grains are processed to give the grain a finer texture and improve their shelf life. However, the processing of the grain removes dietary fiber, iron, and vitamins that are extremely useful to our bodies. Ideally all of our daily grains would be whole grains however that may be somewhat difficult, so the USDA recommends that half of all the grains we eat should be whole grains.





The amount of grains you need depends on your age, gender and level of exercise. This chart by the USDA is helpful in determining the how many servings you need.


http://www.mypyramid.gov/pyramid/grains_amount_table.html


You may also want to check out the MyPyramid.gov website (link below). This website provides great information regarding grains (& other foods), including what counts as a serving, info on nutrients and health benefits, as well as tips to eating more whole grains.

http://www.mypyramid.gov/pyramid/grains.html



You may also find this article from the Harvard School of Public Health insightful, it is tittled Carbohydrates: Good Carbs Guide the Way -

http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/carbohydrates-full-story/index.html


***Need a snack while you watch a movie this weekend? Try Popcorn - 3 cups air popped (no butter or salt of course) is one serving of grains and less then a 100 calories.

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