If you need a New Yearís resolution to kick the year off on a healthy note, you may want to begin by adding more whole grains to your plate. A large study involving over 110,000 adults published today in JAMA Internal Medicine showed that a diet adequate in whole grains was associated with a reduced risk of dying prematurely, especially deaths due to cardiovascular disease. Even when the researchers adjusted for the individualsí age, smoking habits, and body weight, the association remained.
In fact, based on the studyís results, the researchers estimated that for every one ounce serving of whole grains consumed daily, there was an associated five percent reduction in dying of any cause and a whopping nine percent reduction of dying from heart issues. Heart disease is the leading cause of death among Americans.
According to the National Cancer Institute and United States Department of Agriculture, you should be eating between 1.5 ounces to 5 ounces per day of whole grains depending on your calories needs, but most Americans are eating less than 2 ounces of whole grains daily. The Whole Grain Council estimates that 40 percent of Americans never touch the stuff.
Other research also suggests that a healthy diet that contains whole grains can help reduce the risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. Whatís the magic ingredient that is the key to longevity? Itís likely not just one nutrient or compound but more likely a combination of all that whole grains have to offer, such as fiber, antioxidants, vitamin E, and magnesium, working together to keep you healthy.
This chart will help you find whole grains down the supermarket aisle:
Source: Whole Grains Council
If your diet is falling short in the whole grains category, try these easy ways to get more throughout your day:
Choose whole grain breakfast cereals such as shredded wheat, whole wheat flakes, or oat cereal in the morning. Start your cold mornings with a bowl of hot oatmeal, which may help you better manage your weight.
Combine a whole wheat English muffin or wrap and low fat cheddar cheese, turkey, or hummus at lunch. Add tons of veggies for extra bulk.
Snack on a 100-calorie pack of popped popcorn in the afternoon.
Try quick cook brown rice, whole grain pasta, or whole wheat couscous at dinner.
Click here to learn how to cook with whole grains and for tons of healthy recipes.
Photo source: USDA