Get in Those Grains!

It’s National Nutrition Month so each week on #wellnesswednesday, we are going to give you the APL skinny on the food groups, best choices, and give you some APL recipes to try! This week, the focus is on GRAINS!

 Why Getting in the Grains is Important:

The Mayo Clinic gives these reasons on their site for the need and benefits of dietary fiber, which comes from grains, and we couldn’t agree more!

  • Normalizes bowel movements. Dietary fiber increases the weight and size of your stool and softens it. A bulky stool is easier to pass, decreasing your chance of constipation. If you have loose, watery stools, fiber may also help to solidify the stool because it absorbs water and adds bulk to stool.
  • Helps maintain bowel health. A high-fiber diet may lower your risk of developing hemorrhoids and small pouches in your colon (diverticular disease). Some fiber is fermented in the colon. Researchers are looking at how this may play a role in preventing diseases of the colon.
  • Lowers cholesterol levels. Soluble fiber found in beans, oats, flaxseed and oat bran may help lower total blood cholesterol levels by lowering low-density lipoprotein, or “bad,” cholesterol levels. Studies also have shown that fiber may have other heart-health benefits, such as reducing blood pressure and inflammation.
  • Helps control blood sugar levels. In people with diabetes, fiber — particularly soluble fiber — can slow the absorption of sugar and help improve blood sugar levels. A healthy diet that includes insoluble fiber may also reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Aids in achieving healthy weight. High-fiber foods generally require more chewing time, which gives your body time to register when you’re no longer hungry, so you’re less likely to overeat. Also, a high-fiber diet tends to make a meal feel larger and linger longer, so you stay full for a greater amount of time. And high-fiber diets also tend to be less “energy dense,” which means they have fewer calories for the same volume of food.

How Much?: It absolutely depends on who you are, but I recommend a minimum of 25 grams of fiber per day and roughly 4-5 servings of carbs from grains per day.  A serving is 15 grams of carbohydrates (they go fast people, so watch it!)  When it comes to reading a grain’s label, focus on there being more than 5g of fiber per serving for a healthy choice.

What Kinds are Best: We are big fans of brown and black rice, quinoa, millet, amaranth, and steel-cut oats.   We heart Food for Life Millet-Rice bread, Bob’s Red Mill Steel-Cut Gluten-Free Oats (for eating on cold winter mornings and for baking,) Lundberg or Annie Chun’s rice for stir fries, hot rice cakes, and more, as well as quinoa, millet, & amaranth grains for atop salads and for side dishes.

Great Grain Recipes to Try:

APL Grilled Kale & Quinoa Salad

APL Warm Apple & Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

APL Chile Chicken Black Rice Bowl

APL Black Rice Morning Bowl

APL Modified Breakfast BLT

NutritionAshley Pettit