When I was growing up in Taiwan, white rice was much more prized than brown rice because it was refined and therefore was supposed to be better.

We now know that refining can strip a food of vital nutrients.

The process of refining grains and rice separates the branny coat (bran) and the embryo of the grains (germ) from the starchy center, which is then bleached to the almost pure white that was valued more than the beige and brown of the whole grains.

This process of refinement is supposed to rid the grains of impurities. Unfortunately, it also removes much of the fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals from the grains.

For example, cup for cup, refined white flour has only 5% of the vitamin E, 13% of the vitamin B6, 20% of the fiber, and 15% of the magnesium found in whole-wheat flour.

Because so many of the vital nutrients are removed in the refining process, more and more evidence points to the health benefits of whole grains.

Research shows that unrefined grains help prevent and delay the onset of diabetes and heart disease. They ease and cure the discomfort that comes with constipation. They keep diverticulosis and diverticulitis from happening in your gut. They may also lower your risks for certain cancers.

Therefore, replace white bread, white pasta, white rice, and white flour with their whole-grain versions whenever you can. Or, if you are adventuresome, try grains that are more exotic.

The natural beige and brown in grains means more nutrition. Go with them!

Use the following table as a guide in choosing whole grains. Avoid the empty calories of over-processed refined grains whenever possible:

Whole Grains: brown rice, buckwheat, bulger (not cracked wheat), oatmeal, oats, rye, graham flour, popcorn, muesli, whole-grain barley, whole-grain cornmeal, whole rye, whole wheat, wild rice, barley

Less Common Whole Grains: amaranth, millet, quinoa, sorghum, triticale, spelt, kamut

Refined Grains: corn bread, corn tortillas, couscous, crackers, flour tortillas, grits, pasta (noodles, spaghetti, macaroni, etc.), pitas, pretzels, corn flakes, white bread (including buns & rolls), white rice

Here are some additional tips on making nutritious whole grain foods an important part of your eating plan.

... Start the day with whole-grain cereals

Try old-fashioned or steel-cut oats if you like hot cereals. For cold cereals, look for whole oats, whole wheat, whole barley or other whole grains that are listed first on the ingredient list.

... Look for cereals that have at least 5 grams of fiber in each serving
... Look for whole grain listed first on the ingredient list for breads
... Replace white rice with brown rice or more exotic grains such as kasha, bulgur, oat groats, wheat berries, millet, quinoa, or hulled barley
... Bake with whole-grain flour

If whole-grain bread seems too grainy, try gradually increasing the percentage of the whole-grain flour versus the white flour in your baking. You may need a bit more leavening with whole grains.

... Look for bread that has at least 3 grams of fiber in each 1-ounce serving
... Eat whole-wheat pasta. If whole-wheat pasta is too chewy at first, try combining half whole-wheat pasta and half white
... Snack on whole-grain crackers instead of those made from refined flours
... Snack on popcorn, which is made of whole grains. Be gentle with the salt and oil
... Be smart. Don’t be fooled by slick marketing. Look for the word “whole” in the ingredient list of any packaged food you buy

Even cakes, cookies, and breads made with the most processed and least nutritious white flour can list “wheat flour” in the ingredient list, as the flour does indeed come from wheat. Do not trust the brand name or the name of the product. Trust only the words in the ingredient list.

Extra Tip: Multigrain, stone-ground, 100% wheat, cracked wheat, seven-grain, and bran are usually not whole-grain products.

Keep reading to discover the keys for defusing ticking health bombs that could be lurking in your body. Go to www.WholeHealthAlerts.com/free-reportstoday and discover the medical secrets necessary to know so you can live a better, longer, healthier life.

Author's Bio: 

Zen-Jay Chuang, MD, is a primary care physician and Chairman of the Whole Health Alerts advisory board. Click here to find out how Dr. Zen-Jay’s biodynamic, cutting edge approach to ancient and modern medicine can help you achieve the best health of your life.
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