Are carbs bad? Whole grains and heart health part 1

by | Nutrition Questions Answered, Well Balanced Wisdom

Carbs get a bad rap. Many people are eliminating them, assuming they might be intolerant to them or just plain writing them off as evil. Poor carbs, they are so misunderstood.

Carbs (short for carbohydrates) come from many sources both natural and processed, such as bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, peas, corn, fruit, sugar, honey, beans, etc, etc.

This month I want to highlight one group of nutritious, delicious “carbs” and shine light on how eating them can actually HELP us. Whole grains, like brown rice, oats, wheat, barley, and rye are good for your heart. Research indicates that eating whole instead of refined grains substantially lowers total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or bad) cholesterol, triglycerides, and insulin levels.

So don’t write off all carbs. Whole grains are complex carbohydrates worth keeping (or adding) to your diet. This begins a 4 part series on whole grains in honor of Heart Health month. We will define them, give examples, talk about how much and why they are worth including in your diet. First, let’s define them..

What does whole grain really mean?

grain anatomyIn their natural state growing in the fields, whole grains are the entire seed of a plant. This seed (also called a “kernel”) is made up of three key edible parts –the bran, the germ, and the endosperm. Whole grains that make it to the shelves or your plate still contain all three parts of the kernel. On the other hand, grains that have been refined in processing are missing the bran and the germ, leaving only the endosperm. Without the bran and germ, about 25% of a grain’s protein is lost, and are greatly reduced in at least seventeen key nutrients.

When you think of whole grains, the most popular ones might come to mind such as whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta and brown rice. I challenge you to think beyond these staples, though. So many more whole grains are out there and available for your enjoyment. I’ll touch more on those next week….

kristen

You Might Also Like…
New Year’s Resolution Guide

New Year’s Resolution Guide

New year, NOT new you. A change in the calendar year does not mean you have to change who you are. Quite often New Year’s resolutions make us feel we are not good enough the way we are.  That’s why we’re here to tell you that you are worthy just as you are right...

read more
Gift Yourself a Healthy New Year

Gift Yourself a Healthy New Year

During the season of giving to others, you deserve something special too. And there is no better gift than the one you give yourself. Besides, the transition into the new year is the perfect time to treat yourself to something that’ll make it even better. If you’re...

read more
Why eat local?

Why eat local?

As the autumn season rolls in with its warm golden glow and fresh fall air, one cannot help but get excited for vibrant colors on treetops and succulent seasonal flavors. At Well Balanced, we welcome the changing of seasons with open arms as they bring fresh,...

read more