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Grains For Your Brain - Straight Facts about Food and Your Health
In the United States, it is estimated less than 15% of total grain consumption is whole grain and only 6% to 8% of adults meet the target of three servings of whole grain per day.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend eating 6 servings of grain foods each day, with at least 3 coming from whole grains.
The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) shows that both men and women who consume higher percentages of carbohydrates in their diets have lower Body Mass Indices (BMIs).
The complex carbohydrates in bread and other grain-based foods provide essential fuel the body needs.
Consuming grain foods helps with weight maintenance. In fact, a recent study (July 2009) published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association shows that those who consume a medium-to-high percentage of carbohydrates in their diet have a reduced risk of obesity.
Grain foods are a major source of iron, a key nutrient in the production and release of energy to the body.
Enriched grains are the primary source of folic acid in Americans' diets and have been shown to reduce specific types of neural tube defects.
Enriched grains provide our bodies with essential B vitamins (niacin, thiamine and riboflavin), which collectively help maintain a healthy nervous system and increase energy production, and which may help lower cholesterol.
Whole grains are a good source of fiber and naturally low in fat.
Whole grains contain important nutrients such as selenium, potassium and magnesium, which collectively may help boost immunity, lower blood pressure and prevent heart disease and some forms of cancer.
Whole grains lower the risk of irritable bowel syndrome and diverticular disease.
Any food made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley or another cereal grain is a grain product. Bread, pasta, oatmeal, even tortillas and grits are examples of grain foods.
Whole grains contain heart-healthy nutrients. In fact, people who eat three daily servings of whole grains have been shown to reduce their risk of heart disease by 25-36 percent.
Products made from white flour are enriched with four major B vitamins, including folic acid, which plays an important role in healthy pregnancies by preventing neural tube defects.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), folic acid is not only good for growing fetuses, it may also reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke in adults.
Most people don't realize that one of the most popular whole grain foods is popcorn.
Having a sandwich for lunch equals two grain servings towards your Daily 6.
Affected by the 3 o'clock slump? Snacking on a handful of crackers with cheese or peanut butter can help boost your energy.
There are eight common grains consumed in America: wheat, barley, oats, rice, corn, millet, rye and sorghum. These can be consumed as whole grains, but some can also be found in their enriched form.
Do not refrigerate bread for storage use because this process accelerates stale decay, reduces moisture retention, and dries out the product. Keep in ambient room storage to retain its natural characteristics or freeze until needed.