Did you know that February is American Heart Month? For the month of February, we will be highlighting the different food groups in MyPlate and how you and your family can easily incorporate them into a heart healthy diet!
To start off the month, we’re focusing on the grains group, especially whole grains. Whole grains, in addition to being delicious, are an important source of carbohydrates for energy, B vitamins, iron, and fiber.
The American Heart Association recommends at least three servings of fiber-rich whole grains a day. Fiber is important for heart health as it can help lower risks of heart disease, improve cholesterol levels, and reduce risks of stroke, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Fiber can also help to satisfy hunger and keep you full for longer, helping you to maintain a healthy weight.
Whole grains, like oatmeal, whole grain pasta and barley, brown rice, and air-popped popcorn also contain iron, which help to transport oxygen in the blood, and B vitamins, which help to maintain metabolism.
However, not all grains are created equal. Refined grains are grains that have been processed to remove the outer layers of bran and germ, which removes a lot of nutrients, like iron, B vitamins, and fiber! Though enriched refined grains have vitamins and minerals added back in, they can still lack fiber. So, make whole grains the easy choice and limit refined grains when possible to better meet the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Try switching your morning toast up with some whole wheat bread or oatmeal instead, or swap white rice for brown or wild rice with dinner. These changes will help to improve your overall dietary pattern and may help to improve your heart health!
For more information about the grains group visit: https://www.choosemyplate.gov/grains