Incorporating more grains into your diet may reduce health risks

With more and more going gluten free, you would think grains are the enemy.

That’s not the case if you ask some nutritionists.

Elisabetta Politi, Duke Nutrition Director, is encouraging people to "go grain," especially if they want to stay healthy.

She says whole grains are the answer to slashing your chances of developing disease and keeping your waistline in check.

Politi says, "I think switching to whole grains may be a great way to help control your calorie intake and your food intake without having to restrict any particular food group."

Just three servings of whole grains a day, one serving equals a half cup, is all you need to cut your diabetes risk.

"Two studies showed about a 20-percent risk reduction,” Politi says.

Here are three whole grains you should consider.

First up: amaranth.

Politi says, "Amaranth is an ancient African grain. It's gluten free. It's as you can see, really small, which makes it really quick to cook."

The complete protein provides all the essential amino acids you need and has 26 grams of protein in a cup. Compare that with a cup of white rice with four grams.

Next up: spelt, also known as farro.

Politi says it's a good substitute for pasta and has double the protein of whole wheat pasta.

"Besides providing more nutritional value, they're also not going to raise your blood sugar quite as quickly,” Politi says.

Finally, barley is one of Politi's favorites.

"I actually have to confess that I use this when I have to fix dinner in about 20 or 25 minutes and I still think that it provides the benefit of a whole grain,” she says.

Usually, the ratio to cook these grains is two cups of water to one cup of grain.

Quinoa is also another one smart choice.

Toasting it can add a nice, nutty flavor.
The whole truth: grains you need in your diet
Report #2108

Recipe for farro and green beans:
1 cup of farro, raw
8 oz. Of green beans, steamed and chopped
.25 c. Of parmesan cheese, grated
1 tbs. Olive oil
Add farro and 2 c of water to a pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for about twenty to thirty minutes until tender, but firm. Drain the farro in a colander. Transfer to a serving plate. Mix with green beans, parmesan cheese and the olive oil. Yields four servings.
Per serving: 190 calories, 6 grams of fat, 9 grams of fiber, 10 grams of protein, and only 80 mg. Of sodium. Farro has a protective husk that makes the use of harmful pesticides not needed. Also, it is an excellent source of protein and fiber. (source: elisabetta politi, mph, rd)

? For more information, contact:
Elisabetta politi, mph, rd
Nutrition director
Duke diet and fitness center
(919) 684-9783

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