Whole grains are so called because they include all three nutrient-rich parts of the grain – endosperm, bran, and germ. Common types of whole grains include brown rice, whole wheat, oats, rye, buckwheat, barley, and quinoa.
Unlike refined grains, whole grains are much higher in fibre, which can help to reduce levels of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease.
Numerous studies have shown that introducing more whole grains into your diet can boost heart health. For example, this analysis of 45 studies found that eating just three more servings of whole grains per day was associated with a 22% lowered risk of heart disease.
Equally, eating no less than three servings of whole grains each day has been shown to lower systolic blood pressure enough to reduce the risk of a stroke by around 25%.
When buying whole grains, be sure to read product ingredients carefully. For example, words like ‘whole grain’ and ‘whole wheat’ are indicative of a whole-grain product, but this isn’t always the case for phrases like ‘wheat flour’, or ‘multigrain’.
If you’re hoping to introduce more whole grains into your diet, why not check out these healthy whole grain recipes from Real Simple, or try one of these 30 whole grain dinner recipes from Taste of Home? You’ll find everything from colourful buddha bowls to Thai-inspired pasta dishes.