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MyPlate Week, Day 2: The Goodness of Grains

June 7, 2011

Day 2 of “MyPlate Week” brings us to the “Grains” portion of the plate. Like the other food groups represented on the new food icon grains can provide vital nutrients and many health benefits. Below is a basic breakdown of what this portion of the plate has to offer.


Studies have shown that grains, particularly whole grains, have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease. Why? Fiber is one reason. The fiber found in whole grains can aid in lowering cholesterol, but that’s not all fiber can do. Some of the other health benefits linked to a high-fiber diet include:

  • Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity
  • Aids with weight management
  • Reduced risk of constipation and bowel issues such as diverticulosis


Besides fiber, grains are a main source of many nutrients including folate and other B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin) as well as minerals like iron, magnesium and selenium. These vitamins and minerals play an important role in many of the body’s functions such as aiding in metabolism, forming red blood cells, carrying oxygen to in the blood, and even helping to build healthy bones.


As mentioned before, it’s the WHOLE grains, not refined grains that carry the most health benefits and it’s important to try and make half your daily servings of grains whole. These whole grains have not been milled or processed in a way that strips the bran and germ portion of the grains, which contain many nutrients. Great whole grain options include:

  • Whole wheat bread
  • Popcorn
  • Oatmeal
  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa


Eating more whole grains isn’t difficult. Simply substitute in some whole grains options where you would typically use a refined product to get all the benefits whole grains have to offer. Here are just a few of the many ways you can incorporate whole grains into your diet:

  • Using whole wheat or rye bread for sandwiches
  • Adding whole grain flour or oatmeal when making baked goods like cookies
  • Try a whole grain cereal for breakfast
  • Use whole wheat noodles for pasta dishes


Be sure to look for the words “whole grain” on the ingredients list when looking for whole grain options at the grocery store. Words like “multi-grain,” “100% wheat,” or “seven grain” are typically NOT whole grain products.

For more info on grains and all of the other food groups represented on MyPlate, check out

One Comment leave one →
  1. Buster Tenore permalink
    August 23, 2012 8:30 AM

    Niacin is a good supplement because it can keep cholesterol level down and it has also a mild anti-depressant effect. “:.;,

    Many thanks

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