Publix GreenWise Market Magazine - January 2007
The Whole Scoop
Dish up a host of health benefits with whole grain goodness.
|Don't look now, but "whole grain" has become the new "low carb." Food labels touting whole grains are popping up on everything from breads and cereals to cookies and pretzels. And this is one food trend that has solid scientific backing, particularly when it comes to heart health, says Eric Rimm, associate professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. A number of studies back him up.
The Iowa Women's Health Study and the Nurses' Health Study both have found that women who eat one to three servings of whole grains per day have a lower risk of heart disease. This could be because whole grains, such as oats and barley, are high in soluble fiber, which can lower LDL or bad cholesterol. But the women in both of these studies got most of their fiber in the form of whole wheat, which is high in insoluble fiber. So clearly, the insoluble fiber from whole grains plays a role in heart health, too.
Both studies also found that women who ate at least three servings per day of whole grains had a 20 to 30 percent lower risk of diabetes over the next decade. The evidence isn't as strong when it comes to colon cancer; some studies have found that eating whole grains decreases the risk, and others haven't. The inconsistency may be because many studies focused only on the role of fiber in lowering colon cancer risk and may have overlooked the effects of whole grains themselves.
The positive health buzz goes a long way toward explaining why whole grains are in the spotlight these days. We've learned there's a lot more to them than just fiber. In addition to vitamin E, the B vitamins, and minerals such as magnesium, selenium, and iron, whole grains provide a host of health-promoting phytonutrients.
Wheat from the Chaff
All of this creates a strong case for eating more whole grains instead of incomplete, refined grains, which haven't been shown to have the same disease-protecting effects. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend everyone get at least half their grains as whole grains. For adults, this means at least three servings of whole grains a day. A serving might consist of a slice of whole grain toast, ½ cup of oatmeal, ½ cup of brown rice or bulgur, or 3 cups of popped popcorn.
|A true "whole" grain has retained all three of its original nutrient-rich parts: the germ, endosperm, and bran. Even if a grain has been processed, as are cracked wheat, rolled oats, or whole wheat pasta, it's still a whole grain if it retains these three parts in their original proportions. This is why foods with bran aren't necessarily whole grain. They may be missing the endosperm or the germ. Bran does supply fiber, which is important, but it doesn't include the "whole" grain nutrition package.
By the Numbers
How do you know what foods qualify as whole grains? When shopping, look for the words "100% whole grain" on the label or for a whole grain as the first listed ingredient. If the whole grain ingredient is second or lower on the list, the product may contain as much as 49% whole grain or as little as 1%. Be wary of phrases such as "made with whole grain" (often just a little), "harvest wheat" (just a phrase that sounds good), and "whole grain blend" (often a mix of refined and whole grains).
Another assurance that a product is whole grain is this claim on the label: "Diets rich in whole grain foods and low in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease and some cancers." Foods that are legitimately whole grain (at least 51%) can carry this health claim.
Also look for the Whole Grains Stamp, issued by the Whole Grains Council (www.wholegrainscouncil.org). A product displaying the "100% whole grain" or "Excellent Source" stamp must contain at least 16 grams of whole grain per serving (one of the three recommended daily servings). A product displaying the "whole grain" or "Good Source" stamp must contain at least 8 grams of whole grain, or a half-serving.
There's a world of whole grains beyond morning toast and cereal. Try some of these for lunch or dinner alongside chicken, beef, or pork:
Amaranth - This ancient grain (a staple of the Aztec culture) is comprised of tiny seeds that, when cooked, resemble light brown caviar. It's higher in protein than most grains and is especially rich in lysine, an amino acid often missing in grains.
Barley - Commonly added to soups, barley is available in whole, pearled, and quick-cooking forms. It has a mild nutty flavor and contains as much soluble fiber as oats.
Brown Rice - This rice isn't milled as much as its white counterpart, so it retains the bran and germ, making it more fiber-rich, nutritious, and chewy.
Bulgur - This quick-cooking form of whole wheat has been cleaned, parboiled, dried, and cracked. It needs only a soaking to rehydrate and has a long shelf life. It's the primary ingredient in tabbouleh.
Millet - This tiny grain has a mild flavor that is enhanced if roasted prior to cooking. It is even higher in B vitamins than whole wheat.
Quinoa - Actually an ancient grainlike fruit seed that was a staple of the Incas, quinoa cooks quickly and has a mild flavor and a delightful, slightly crunchy texture. Unlike most grains, it contains all of the amino acids your body needs, making it a complete protein.
Wild Rice - This isn't really rice at all but rather a grass seed. Compared with rice, it's richer in protein and other nutrients and has a more distinctive and nutty flavor.
Have whole grains been overhyped? Not when you consider that eating at least three servings a day can reduce your risk of chronic conditions, most notably heart disease. High-fiber whole grains also make you feel fuller sooner, which can help you lose weight. They contain antioxidants and phytochemicals we're just beginning to learn about. So stay tuned - no doubt there's more good whole grain news on the horizon.
Simple Ways to Eat More Whole Grains
The Whole Grains Council offers some fast ways to incorporate more whole grains into your diet. Try any of these:
Buy whole grain breads. Your neighborhood Publix sells several varieties.
Make risottos, pilafs, and other rice-like dishes with whole grains such as barley, brown rice, bulgur, millet, or quinoa.
Substitute half the white flour with whole wheat flour in your regular recipes for cookies, muffins, quick breads, and pancakes.
Add half a cup of cooked bulgur, wild rice, or barley to bread stuffing.
Use whole cornmeal for corn cakes, corn breads, and corn muffins.
Add half a cup of cooked wheat, wild rice, brown rice, or barley to your favorite canned or homemade soups.
Buy whole grain pasta, or one of the blends that's part whole grain, part white. Your kids may not even notice the difference.
Look for cereals made with grains such as kamut, kasha (buckwheat), or spelt.
|Lamb or Pork with Pepper Bulgur|
Bulgur is rich in folate, magnesium, iron, and fiber. Spinach and red sweet peppers both contain the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, believed to help protect against the leading cause of blindness in people over 65.
2 cups water
1 cup bulgur
½ cup chopped onion
1 cup organic small or shredded spinach leaves
1 medium organic red sweet pepper, seeded and chopped
2 teaspoons lemon-pepper seasoning
½ teaspoon salt
6 lamb rib or loin chops, cut 1 inch thick (about 1¾ pounds total), or 6 boneless pork loin chops, cut 1 inch thick (about 2 pounds)
ONE In a medium saucepan combine water, bulgur, and onion. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 12 to 15 minutes or until bulgur is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed. Drain if necessary. Stir in spinach, sweet pepper, 1 teaspoon of the lemon-pepper seasoning, and the salt. Cover and keep warm.
TWO Meanwhile, trim fat from meat. Sprinkle meat with remaining 1 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning. Place meat on the unheated rack of a broiler pan. Broil 4 to 5 inches from the heat until done, turning once halfway through broiling. For the lamb, allow 10 to 15 minutes for medium doneness (160°F). For the pork, allow 9 to 11 minutes (160° F). Use a meat thermometer to accurately ensure doneness.
THREE To serve, divide bulgur mixture among 6 dinner plates. Top with lamb or pork. Makes 6 servings.
Nutrition Facts per serving: 191 cal., 4 g total fat (1 g sat. fat), 49 mg chol., 602 mg sodium, 21 g carbo., 5 g dietary fiber, 19 g protein.
Whole Wheat and Oatmeal Pancakes
Oatmeal contains both beta-glucan (a cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber) and aventhramides, antioxidants thought to have blood vessel-protecting qualities. Whole wheat flour contains the bran and the germ of the grain, which are processed out of white, refined flour.
½ cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1¼ cups quick-cooking rolled oats
1¼ cups organic nonfat milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons margarine, melted
2 tablespoons honey
ONE In a large mixing bowl combine whole wheat flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. In another mixing bowl combine rolled oats and 1¼ cups milk; let stand 10 minutes. Add the eggs, margarine, and honey to the oat mixture. Stir until well combined. Add the oat mixture to the flour mixture. Stir just until combined but still slightly lumpy. (If batter is too thick, thin by adding additional milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.)
TWO Heat a lightly greased griddle or heavy skillet over medium heat until a few drops of water dance across the surface. For each pancake, pour about ¼ cup batter onto the hot griddle. Spread batter into a circle about 4 inches in diameter.
THREE Cook over medium heat until pancakes are golden brown, turning to cook the second sides when pancake surfaces are bubbly and edges are slightly dry (about 1 to 2 minutes per side). Serve immediately or keep warm in a loosely covered ovenproof dish in a 300°F oven. Makes 6 (2 pancakes each) servings.
Nutrition Facts per serving: 221 cal., 9 g total fat (2 g sat. fat), 71 mg chol., 347 mg sodium, 29 g carbo., 3 g dietary fiber, 8 g protein.
Apple-Cinnamon Oatmeal Pancakes: Prepare as above, except add ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon to the flour mixture and fold 1 cup finely chopped unpeeled apple into the batter.
|Whole Wheat Pasta with Ricotta and Vegetables|
Whole grain pasta has 25 percent more protein, three times the fiber, and fewer calories than white
8 ounces dried whole wheat or whole grain penne pasta
2½ cups organic broccoli florets
1½ cups asparagus or organic green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup light ricotta cheese
¼ cup snipped fresh basil or 1 tablespoon dried basil, crushed
4 teaspoons snipped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon organic olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 large, ripe organic tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
ONE Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting any oil or salt and adding broccoli and
asparagus or green beans the last 3 minutes of cooking; drain.
TWO In a large serving bowl combine ricotta cheese, basil, thyme, vinegar, oil, garlic, salt, and pepper.
THREE Add cooked pasta mixture and tomatoes to ricotta mixture. Toss to combine. Sprinkle each serving
with Parmesan cheese; serve immediately. Makes 4 main-dish servings.
Nutrition Facts per serving: 361 cal., 9 g total fat (2 g sat. fat), 17 mg chol., 408 mg sodium, 55 g
carbo., 7 g dietary fiber, 16 g protein.
|Fiesta Quinoa Salad
Quinoa is one of the best plant sources of protein and a rich source of the amino acid lysine. It's also
gluten-free and rich in magnesium, iron, folate, and zinc. Technically, quinoa is a seed, but it cooks
like a grain and can be made into flour.
1 cup quinoa
1 15-ounce can Publix GreenWise Market organic black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup packaged fresh julienned carrots
1 medium yellow or red sweet pepper, chopped (¾ cup)
1/3 cup chopped red onion
1 fresh jalapeño chile pepper*, seeded and finely chopped
¼ cup snipped fresh cilantro
¼ cup organic olive oil
1 teaspoon finely shredded lime peel
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
ONE Place quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer. Rinse under cold running water; drain. In a medium saucepan
bring 2½ cups water to boiling. Add quinoa. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 10
minutes. Drain in the fine-mesh strainer. Rinse with cold water; drain again. Place in a large bowl.
TWO Add beans, carrots, sweet pepper, onion, jalapeño, and cilantro to bowl. For dressing, in a small
bowl stir together oil, lime peel, lime juice, salt, and cumin. Add to vegetable mixture. Toss to coat.
Cover and chill for 2 to 24 hours. Makes 8 to 10 side-dish servings.
Nutrition Facts per serving: 191 cal., 8 g total fat (1 g sat. fat), 0 mg chol., 440 mg sodium, 26 g
carbo., 5 g dietary fiber, 7 g protein.
*Note: Because chile peppers contain volatile oils that can burn your skin and eyes, avoid direct contact
with them as much as possible. When working with chile peppers, wear plastic or rubber gloves. If your
bare hands do touch the peppers, wash your hands and nails well with soap and warm water.