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The Whole Truth About Whole Grains

11 reasons to make the switch now
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11. They reduce cancer risks. continued...

It's thought that whole grains may accomplish this by blocking DNA damage, suppressing the growth of cancer cells, providing antioxidant protection, and preventing the formation of carcinogens. The particular components of whole grains that may be protective include fiber; antioxidants including vitamins (like vitamin E) and minerals (like selenium); and various phytochemicals.

Among the types of cancer that whole grains help protect against are gastrointestinal cancers such as stomach and colon cancers, along with cancers of the oral cavity, pharynx, esophagus, and larynx.

Your Whole Grain Line-Up

If you're ready to go brown, whole-wheat bread is a great place to start. But don't stop there.

Here are nine common whole-grain foods that you'll probably find at your supermarket:

  • Brown rice
  • Oats
  • Whole-wheat flour
  • Rye flour
  • Barley
  • Buckwheat
  • Bulgur (steamed and dried cracked wheat)
  • Millet
  • Quinoa

And don't think that cooking them has to be difficult and time-consuming. Here are a couple of easy (and yummy) ways to prepare some whole-grain favorites.

Quick Mexican Brown Rice

Journal as: 3/4 cup starches/legumes with 1 teaspoon fat (stuffing, rice).

Your family might be more inclined to like brown rice if it is in a mixed dish like this one.

2 tablespoons canola oil
2 cups brown rice, uncooked
3 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups finely chopped white or yellow onions
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) Mexican style tomatoes
1 bell pepper (any color), finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste (optional)

  • Heat canola oil in a medium nonstick saucepan over medium heat and sauté the rice just until golden (about 5 minutes).
  • Add 1/2 cup if moisture is needed. Add the onions and garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes.
  • Stir in tomatoes (including juice), the rest of the broth, and bell pepper. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered, for 20 to 25 minutes or until the broth is absorbed. Add salt and pepper to taste, if desired, and serve.

Yield: 8 servings

Per serving: 240 calories, 6 g protein, 43 g carbohydrate, 5.7 g fat (0.9 g saturated fat, 2.5 g monounsaturated fat, 1.6 g polyunsaturated fat), 2 mg cholesterol, 3.3 g fiber, 54 mg sodium (using low sodium chicken broth and canned tomatoes). Calories from fat: 21%.

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