Heart Beat: Stamp of approval

Heart Beat

Stamp of approval

If you are trying to include more whole grains in your diet but have trouble figuring out what qualifies, help is on the way. A voluntary whole grain stamp sported by a growing number of grain products can save you from poring over the tiny print on food labels.

What are whole grains?

They are foods that contain a grain's fibrous bran, starchy endosperm, and vitamin-rich germ. Examples include whole or cracked wheat, oatmeal, brown rice, barley, popcorn, and an assortment of whole-grain breads, cereals, pastas, and crackers.

The government's 2005 nutrition guidelines suggest that half of your daily grain servings be whole grains. (The Harvard Medical School's Healthy Eating Pyramid recommends even more.) Why whole grains? Brown rice, whole oats, wheat berries, and foods made using the whole grain are more nutritious than their refined counterparts. And a diet rich in whole grains can help reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers, as well as improve bowel health. It also helps keep weight in check.

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