Fresh Produce

Nutrition

Grains

Grains are another essential part of a healthy diet and make up approximately one fourth of a daily balanced diet. Grains are made from wheat, oats, rice, barley, and cornmeal and include foods such as bread, breakfast cereals, tortillas, pasta, grits, oatmeal, rice, and popcorn. There are two groups of grains, including whole grains and refined grains. Whole grains are made from the entire grain kernel while refined grains have parts of the grain kernel removed to improve shelf life. Whole-grains should make up at least half of all grains consumed. Examples of refined grains include white bread, white rice, corn grits, and white flour while examples of whole grains include whole-wheat flour, oatmeal, whole-grain cornmeal, brown rice, and cracked wheat. Eating whole grains regularly may help reduce the risk of heart disease and support healthy digestion  Eating whole grains may also support weight management, and grains containing folate can help prevent neural tube defects, especially when consumed before and during pregnancy. Grains contain nutrients such as complex carbohydrates, which are an important energy source. Grains also contain dietary fiber, which  may help reduce blood cholesterol and reduce heart disease risk.  Dietary fiber is also important in helping to maintain healthy bowel function. Many grains contain B vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin, which aid in metabolism. B vitamins are also important in helping to maintain a healthy nervous system. Certain grains may contain iron as well, which is an essential mineral in the human body. In addition, whole grains may contain magnesium and selenium, which are important minerals used to help build bones and release energy from muscles. Selenium also helps protect against oxidation and helps maintain a healthy immune system.

Daily Grain Recommendations

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