Your Road Map to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines

By Karen Ansel, M.S., R.D., "America's New Food Rules," May/June 2011

6 easy rules that could help you live a longer and healthier life.

5. Go for More Whole Grains

When it comes to grains, most of us could do a whole lot better. We gobble twice as many refined grains as we should, which may explain why the Dietary Guidelines tell Americans to "limit the consumption of foods that contain refined grains." Additionally, half of Americans are eating less than half an ounce of whole grains a day, which equates to half a slice of whole-wheat bread or ¼ cup of brown rice or ½ cup of 100 percent whole grain cereal. Upping your whole-grains intake could lengthen your life, suggests an Archives of Internal Medicine study published earlier this year. Researchers suspect a reduced risk of death from cardiovascular, infectious and respiratory diseases is due to the fiber from whole grains.

"Half your grains should be whole grains—such as brown rice, oats and 100 percent whole-grain cereal, bread and pasta," says Achterberg. And while you should limit sources of refined grains like cookies, breakfast bars and pastries, having some enriched refined grains—such as pasta, bread and unsweetened cereal—is OK and may even add some iron and folic acid to your diet. A 2005 study reported that we get nearly half of our iron and about a quarter of our folic acid from foods containing enriched white flour, such as white bread, pasta and cereal. Another way to get these nutrients is, of course, through lean meats (iron), legumes (iron and folate) and vegetables and fruit (folate).

Related Link: High-Fiber Whole Grain Recipes

Next: Go Fish »

Get a full year of EatingWell magazine.
World Wide Web Health Award Winner Web Award Winner World Wide Web Health Award Winner Interactive Media Award Winner