Grain and grain products have been receiving a bad rap in recent years, but we have to separate whole grain from their more refined , highly processed cousins.
Following a nutritious diet means getting your fill of fibre-rich foods. Fibre is an essential component to health, as it may reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, constipation and diverticular disease. Adults should aim to eat 25 to 30 grams of fibre per day. One way to ensure that you meet this requirement is to include whole-grain foods in your diet. Whole grains are not only an excellent source of fibre, but they also contain many essential nutrients.
Oatmeal for Breakfast
To start your day out right, go for a filling bowl of whole-grain oatmeal. A 1-cup cooked serving of quick-cooking oats contain 4 grams of heart-healthy fibre. This translates to 15 percent of your daily fibre needs. The type of fibre found in oats is called soluble fibre, which helps to lower blood cholesterol levels. Forgo sugar-filled instant oatmeal varieties and season plain oats with sliced fruit, cinnamon and a splash of low-fat milk. If you aren’t in the mood for oatmeal, there are many fibre-filled whole-grain cold breakfast cereal options as well.
Benefits of Barley
Among whole grains, barley boasts one of the highest proportions of fibre. A 1-cup cooked serving of barley contains 6 filling grams of fibre. In addition, barley is full of vitamins and minerals and may reduce blood cholesterol level and aid with blood sugar control. Barley is used most often in soups, yet it is a very versatile grain. You can use barley in salads, in stir-fries, as a side dish or as a breakfast cereal.
Quinoa & Brown Rice
Quinoa and brown rice are two more whole-grain options that can be used in dishes or side dishes, similar to barley. Quinoa packs 5 grams of fibre in a 1-cup cooked serving. A 1-cup serving of cooked brown rice contains 4 grams of fibre.
Whole Wheat Pasta
There is good news for pasta lovers when it comes to increasing your fibre intake. Whole wheat pasta is high in fibre, with 6 grams packed in a cup of cooked noodles. Whole wheat pasta is also a good source of muscle-building protein, as a 1-cup serving provides 7 grams. When enjoying pasta, skip the heavy sauces and season it with herbs and a touch of olive oil.
Whole-Grain Bread Products
Healthy whole-grain products have popped up everywhere, so you can easily find bread, bagels, English muffins, pita pockets, hamburger buns and tortillas that are full of fibre and made from whole-grain ingredients. A 100 percent whole wheat English muffin, for example, provides you with 4 grams of fibre and is also a good source of protein. A medium whole wheat tortilla contains 3 grams of fibre. To reap the health benefits, be sure to choose whole-grain bread products instead of the refined counterparts whenever possible.
Snack on Popcorn
Popcorn is a perfect snack food for those looking for high-fibre whole grains. A 100-calorie, 3-cup serving of air-popped popcorn contains 3 grams of fibre. Popcorn can be a nutritious snack option when you cut back on butter and salt. Instead, season your plain popcorn with garlic powder, Italian seasoning, cumin or cinnamon for a tasty low-fat option.