How to increase your intake of whole grain foods?

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Choose foods that name one of the following ingredients first on the label’s ingredient list (see sample in figure 4).

1. Brown rice

2. Oatmeal

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3. Whole oats

4. Bulgur (cracked wheat)

5. Popcorn

6. Whole rye

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7. Graham flour

8. Pearl barley

9. Whole wheat

10. Whole grain corn

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Try some of these whole grain foods: whole wheat bread, whole grain ready-to-eat cereal, low-fat whole wheat crackers, oatmeal, whole wheat pasta, whole barley in soup, tabouli salad.

Enriched grains are a new source of folic acid

Folic acid, a form of folate, is now added to all enriched grain products (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and iron have been added to enriched grams for many years). Folate is a B vitamin that reduces the risk of some serious types of birth defects when consumed before and during early pregnancy. Studies are underway to clarify whether it decreases risk for coronary heart disease, stroke, and certain types of cancer. Whole grain foods naturally contain some folate, but only a few (mainly ready-to-eat breakfast cereals) contain added folic acid as well. Read the ingredient label to find out if folic acid and other nutrients have been added, and check the Nutrition Facts Label to compare the nutrient content of foods like breakfast cereals.

Build a healthy base by making a variety of grain products a foundation of your diet.

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Eat 6 or more servings of grain products daily (whole grain and refined breads, cereals, pasta, and rice). Include several servings of whole grain foods daily for their good taste and their health benefits. If your calorie needs are low, have only 6 servings of a sensible size daily (see INDEX 8 for examples of serving sizes).

Eat foods maae from a variety of whole grains-such as whole wheat, brown rice, oats, and whole grain corn-every day.

Combine whole grains with other tasty, nutritious foods in mixed dishes.

Prepare or choose grain products with little added saturated lat and a moderate or low amount of added sugars. Also, check the sodium content on the Nutrition Facts Label.

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Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables daily

Fruits and vegetables are key parts of your daily diet. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables of different kinds, as part of the healthful eating patterns described by these guidelines, may help protect you against many chronic diseases. It also promotes healthy bowel function. Fruits and vegetables provide essential vitamins and minerals, fiber, and other substances that are important for good health. Most people, including children, eat fewer servings of fruits and vegetables than are recommended. To promote your health, eat a variety of fruits and vegetables-at least 2 servings of fruits and 3 servings of vegetables-each day.

Why eat plenty of different fruits and vegetables?

Different fruits and vegetables are rich in different nutrients (see INDEX 12). Some fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of carotenoids, including those which form vitamin A, while others may be rich in vitamin C, folate, or potassium. Fruits and vegetables, especially dry beans and peas, also contain fiber and other substances that are associated with good health. Dark-green leafy vegetables, deeply colored fruits, and dry beans and peas are especially rich in many nutrients. Most fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories and are filling. Some are high in fiber, and many are quick to prepare and easy to eat. Choose whole or cut-up fruits and vegetables rather than juices most often. Juices contain little or no fiber.

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