Eat 3 or More Whole-Grain Foods Every Day

Updated:Feb 24,2014

Family Eating Oatmeal for BreakfastWheat, oats and rice are examples of grains. Some foods made from these grains use only the inside of the grain. Whole-grain foods include the outside – the entire grain.

The American Heart Association recommends eating 6 to 8 servings of grain foods a day, especially whole grains.

What Makes Whole Grains So Great?

Whole-grain foods are healthy because they contain fiber. A diet high in fiber can help reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Fiber causes food to stay in your stomach longer, so you fell full and your blood sugar doesn’t go up as quickly after you eat. Whole grains, such as whole-wheat flour and brown rice, also have more fiber  than refined white flour and white rice.

Whole grains and other high-fiber foods help your health in many ways, including:
  • helping to control blood sugar and blood cholesterol
  • making you feel full, so you eat less 
  • preventing constipation, or hard bowel movements
How To Eat More Fiber

It’s easy to get more fiber. Just replace foods you already eat with foods containing more fiber such as whole-grain foods. For example:

Instead of ... Try ...
white bread or “wheat” bread “whole-wheat” bread or rye bread
white rice  brown rice or wild rice
 regular pasta  whole-wheat or whole-grain pasta
 macaroni  bulgur wheat
 corn flakes  bran flakes or other bran cereal
 crispy rice cereals  whole-grain cereals
cream of wheat old-fashioned or quick oatmeal
flour tortillas Whole-grain or corn tortillas (made without lard)

Learn more:

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Dictionary of Nutrition

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This dictionary provides you with information on common nutrition terms to help you make heart-healthy decisions.

Fruits and Vegetables   Fish   Whole Grains
Sodium   Sugar   Fat

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