by Dr. Janet Brill, Registered Dietitian
Consuming whole grains as a main form of carbohydrate nourishment has been scientifically shown to protect your heart, cutting the risk of coronary artery disease by an amazing 40 percent!
In my book Prevent a Second Heart Attack: 8 Foods, 8 Weeks to Reverse Heart Disease, I point out that eating whole grains, like oatmeal, is a key to heart health.
Research shows that individuals who eat a diet abundant in whole grains are less likely to experience a fatal heart attack.
Whole grains are one of my 8 key food groups – along with extra virgin leafy greens, olive oil, salmon and other seafood, figs and other fruits, lentils and other legumes, walnuts and flaxseed, and red wine – that are part of my plan to reverse heart disease, or build good heart health to hopefully avoid heart troubles. Dark chocolate is a bonus food in this plan. Yippee!
Natural whole grains are made up of three botanically-defined parts: the bran, the endosperm, and the germ (or embryo). By eating the whole seed, or “kernel,” with the three parts intact (the entire complex), you are eating a complete whole grain that is loaded with nutrition.
How can you be sure that what you buy at the grocery store is indeed a whole grain? Look on the list of ingredients for words that signify whole grains:
Consuming whole grains on a daily basis is good for the heart. Eating at least three servings of whole grains each and every day can boost your heart disease defense system by:
Here are a few other suggestions to help you get at least three servings of whole grains a day:
A healthy way to start your day is a morning bowl of oatmeal which delivers plaque-fighting, nutrient-dense benefits that last all day long. Oats are an energy-yielding complex carbohydrate that keep you fuller longer, by slowly releasing glucose into your bloodstream.
Better still, oats house a rare type of soluble fiber called beta-glucan, a highly effective LDL-lowering substance. Oats are #1 when it comes to soluble fiber, having the highest proportion of any whole grain.
Oats also contain insoluble fiber, which benefits your digestive health. Use oatmeal in cooking to add taste and nutrition to your favorite dishes.
You will probably be surprised at how the taste of certain foods truly comes alive with the addition of this hearty, healthy, class of super foods. Dr. Janet’s Oatmeal, Walnut and Flaxseed Pancakes (page 273) and Dr. Janet’s Steel-cut Oats with Fresh Fruit and Walnuts (page 271) are some yummy recipes included in Prevent a Second Heart Attack that feature oatmeal and are sure to please your taste buds!
(published June 29, 2012)
Janet Brill, Ph.D., R.D., LDN, is a leading diet, nutrition, and fitness expert specializing in cardiovascular disease prevention. She is the author of Cholesterol Down: 10 Simple Steps to Lower Your Cholesterol in 4 Weeks – Without Prescription Drugs (Three Rivers Press, 2006), and Prevent a Second Heart Attack: 8 foods, 8 Weeks to Reverse Heart Disease (Three Rivers Press, Feb. 2011). To learn more about Dr. Janet, get delicious heart-healthy recipes, or buy her books, please visit DrJanet.com or PreventaSecondHeartAttack.com.