With all the negativity around grains and cereal products in the media, people are starting to ask themselves- Are grains good for me or not? The answer is very clear, GRAINS ARE GREAT!!!! Grains are currently responsible for the largest amount of energy in the typical Australian diet as well as fibre, folate, thiamine, iron, magnesium, iodine, and carbohydrates. They fuel our brain, muscles and various other organs in our body and serve as our leading source of fibre. Fibre is an essential nutrient which help to keep our bowels regular, helps reduce cholesterol and keeps us fuller for longer so we can make it through those long days at school or work. Grains can also be a great source of protein which is required for growth and repair of our muscles. The protein content of grains varies significantly however, so it is important to read the label to see how much protein is in the products you are eating. Furthermore, grain products provide antioxidants and phytoestrogens which help to neutralise chemicals in the body and provide multiple health benefits such as protection against disease. Imagine if we didn’t eat any grains?!! Interestingly enough, not all grains possess the same amount of nutritional value and health benefits. Whole grain and high fibre products have been researched to possess greater benefits then refined cereals which contain only 30-50% of the total nutrients in whole grain products. The consumption of these grains have displayed a reduction in the risk of Cardiovascular Disease, Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, some Cancers and have been associated with better long term weight management. Considering recent calculations have outlined two-thirds of Queensland adults and a quarter of Queensland children are overweight and obese, with the number of diagnoses of diabetes having increased to 60 Queenslanders per day, we must make the most nutritious foods available to us such as whole grains. Whole grains are typically also lower in sugar then refined cereals- what a bonus! As a result of all the evidence to support the consumption of grains, the Australian Dietary Guidelines recommends a variety of grain products should be consumed daily, mostly of the whole grain or high fibre varieties.
Examples of whole grains: Wholemeal or wholegrain breads or crispbreads, dark ‘seedy’ breads, wholegrain breakfast cereals, wheatgerm, brown rice, puffed whole grains, bulgur, quinoa, couscous, popcorn and oatmeal.
Examples of refined grains: Cake, desserts, white bread, pasta, muffins, sweet or savoury biscuits, refined grain breakfast cereals, white rice, pancakes, waffles and pizza.
For more information or any individual advice, please contact Tree of Life Nutrition on 3891 6199 to book an appointment with a Dietitian today.
Prepared by: Lisa Peterson, Dietitian & Nutritionist, APD AN
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