According to researchers and experts, whole grains should be a staple for anyone living with high cholesterol. Here’s how to incorporate more of these good things into your diet.
When it comes to lowering cholesterol levels, whole grains are the healthiest to eat. Additionally, whole grains are linked to lower cholesterol, as well as a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers, and other health problems.
Aside from the various vitamins and minerals that whole grains can provide in the diet, perhaps one of the biggest reasons for their benefit in lowering cholesterol is the fact that they tend to be high in fiber. Fiber is particularly important in shaping the gut microbiome, which has become an area of interest because it can impact lipid metabolism.
But sticking to whole grains means giving up the refined foods that are so prevalent in our society: white bread, white rice, white flour. Unlike whole grains, refined foods have been ground, a process that removes the bran and germ, which gives these foods a longer shelf life but removes dietary fiber, iron, and many B vitamins. Grains Whole grains also contain varying amounts of soluble fiber, which can reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream.
You can even start by doing half and half with a favorite cereal and a new cereal (perhaps half white rice and half brown rice) and make the transition gradually.
Below is a list of five whole grain foods to help you in your quest for health.
1. Whole grain pasta
If you’re a spaghetti lover, hearing that you may have to say goodbye to your fancy friends in the pasta aisle can send shivers down your spine. But never fear, there is a heart-healthy alternative. Wholemeal pasta is high in fiber, which aids digestion and reduces the risk of heart disease, obesity and diabetes. And that’s not all. In addition to fiber, grains provide nutrients like thiamin (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3), folate (vitamin B9), iron, magnesium, and selenium. All of these are important for various body functions, such as forming new cells, transporting oxygen in the blood, regulating the thyroid, and maintaining a healthy immune system.
2. Brown rice
There are many reasons why switching from white rice to brown rice is good for your health. In addition to being high in fiber, 1 cup of cooked long-grain brown rice contains more than 3 grams (g) of fiber, compared to less than 1 g for 1 cup of cooked long-grain white rice. Brown rice is also loaded with a number of beneficial vitamins and minerals that are removed from white rice during grain processing. “Brown rice is an excellent source of B vitamins, phosphorus and magnesium. It is economical, easy and versatile.
Looking for an alternative to white bread? Try rye. Rye is a fast-growing herbaceous grain, mainly used to make rye bread and whisky. A cup of rye contains 12 g of dietary fiber, and that dietary fiber reduces LDL. And according to a trial published in the Research Journal, rye may also increase satiety, making you feel fuller, longer.
Quinoa, an ancient gluten-free grain from South America, is rich in vitamin B. Quinoa is a complete protein and one of the only plant foods that provides nine of the essential amino acids the human body needs. A cup of cooked quinoa provides about 8g of protein and 5g of fiber.
Oats are an excellent source of soluble fiber (especially beta-glucan), which can reduce the absorption of cholesterol into the blood. Oats are one of the most popular whole grains. It contains fiber, helps lower glucose and cholesterol levels, and reduces the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Oats are also an economical way to start your morning off right.