Why it’s good for you: The government’s dietary guidelines recommend that at least half the grains you eat be whole. This means intact grains that contain the entire grain kernel: the bran, germ and endosperm. Refined grains (which are used in white bread and white rice), in contrast, are milled, meaning the bran and germ have been removed to give the grains a soft, finer texture; this process also strips the grains of dietary fiber, iron and several B vitamins.
The reason you want whole grains in your diet: their high dietary fiber and nutrients are linked to lower risks of heart disease, some cancers, diabetes and obesity; plus, they help lower cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure. Switching from white to whole-wheat bread is one good way to up your whole-grain intake.
Word to the wise: Beware of breads that are marketed as “multigrain,” “made with whole grains” or “enriched.” While these products may contain some whole grains, they’re likely to contain refined grains too. Stick to products labeled as “100% whole grain.”
How to eat it: Simply swap white bread for whole wheat on all your sandwiches.
Serving size: 1 slice
Recipe: Dr. Janet’s Whole-Wheat Pita Crisps
Yield: 1 serving
1 large 100% whole-wheat pita bread
Dash of paprika
Cut pita into four wedges. Place pita on baking sheet and sprinkle with paprika. Toast in toaster oven until crisp.
Nutrition per serving (1 pita):
Fat: 1 g
Sodium: 240 mg
Carbohydrates: 25 g
Dietary fiber: 3 g
Sugars: 0 g
Protein: 4 g
Recipe excerpted from Cholesterol Down by Janet Bond Brill, Ph.D., R.D., LDN (Three Rivers Press, December 2006). To learn more about this book, visit DrJanet.com