Whole Grains Provide a Benefit We Didn’t Know

Lisa Nelson, RD, LN Health Pro December 01, 2009
  • When it comes to lowering high cholesterol fiber plans a critical role, specifically in regards to LDL cholesterol. Dietary fiber binds to cholesterol to remove it from your body. Research has shown that for every 1-2 grams of daily soluble fiber intake, LDL cholesterol is lowered 1%.

     

    Research from the University of Scranton has identified a new benefit to eating a diet high in whole grains. They have found whole grain cereals and snacks to contain high levels of antioxidants, specifically polyphenols. Antioxidants protect cells against damage caused by free radicals, which lead to oxidative stress and cell damage.

     

    For cereals, whole grain cereal was identified as having the highest antioxidant levels. Oat based cereals contain the highest levels followed by corn and wheat. As far as snacks, popcorn was rated high as it provided five times the level of antioxidants compared to all other snacks tested. More heavily processed snacks lost most of their antioxidant properties during production. Just remember, keep the butter and salt added to your popcorn minimal.

     

    It's likely you already know you need to include whole grains in your diet, but are you including enough whole grains in your diet everyday? A new study from the Harris Interactive poll of 2,106 US adults found the average daily whole grain intake to be 3.2 servings. The goal recommendation is 6 servings of whole grains daily. The average American is only consuming half the recommended level.

     

    You may start seeing a "Daily 6" campaign launched by the Grain Foods Foundation in response to the results of this survey. The campaign is intended to encourage and remind you to eat more health whole grains everyday.

     

    One serving of whole grains equals:

     

    1 slice of bread
    1 cup of ready-to-eat cereal
    ½ cup cooked rice, pasta, or cereal

     

    Eating six servings of whole grains everyday can be very simple, such as a breakfast including 1 cup of oatmeal, sandwich with 2 slices of bread for lunch, and 1 cup of whole grain pasta for dinner. Just remember balance is key. You must balance the carbohydrates found in whole grains with appropriate levels of protein and fat in your diet.

     

    Be sure to sign-up for the free e-course How to Lower Cholesterol in 8 Simple Steps.