February is Heart Month and we want to share tips all month long to help keep you heart as healthy as possible.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada state that 8 out of 10 cases of premature heart disease and stroke are preventable with healthy lifestyle behaviours.
This is often easier said than done for people living in poverty as they have limited access to healthy foods which can help reduce their risk of conditions such as heart disease, stroke, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
Whole grains can be found in many items provided by food banks, such as oats, barley, and brown rice. So this week we are going to be talking about cooking with whole grains.
You may already be eating whole grains – popcorn, a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, or giving a bowl of Cheerios to your toddler.
Whole grains are an excellent source of:
- B vitamins
and a good source of:
Health Benefits of Whole Grains
Can lower blood cholesterol
Reduce risk of heart disease and stroke
Help balance blood sugar and reduce risk of diabetes
Help with weight control
Promote bowel regularity
Improve gut health
Whole Grains and Fibre
When it comes to heart health, fibre is key as it can help lower the risk of heart disease. Most Canadians do not eat enough fibre, but the good news is that with a few small changes you can use whole grains to really improve your fibre intake.
Women should aim for 25g of fibre per day
Men should aim for 36g of fibre per day
Children need fibre too
Children under age 3 years need 19g
Children ages 4-8years need 25g
Children ages 9-13 years need 31g
Week 1: A Tip a Day for Adding More Whole Grain Foods to Your Diet
When picking foods, look at the ingredient list. Look for foods with whole grain as the first ingredient.
Add a handful of pot barley or brown rice to your favourite soup.
Switching from white bread to whole wheat bread can provide an extra 3g of fibre per 2 slices.
Switching from white rice to brown rice adds an extra 3.5g of fibre per cup of cooked rice
White rice is only .5g while brown rice is 4g.
New to brown rice? Try combining brown and white rice and cooking them together. The blend adds a nuttiness and more interesting texture to a meal.
Just add I cup water for every 1 cup white rice and 2 cups water for every one cup of brown rice.
Check your morning cereal and choose a variety with 4g or more of fibre per serving.
When reading a Nutrition Facts table on your food items,
use the % Daily value (%DV) as a guide and remember:
- 5% DV or less is a little
- 15% DV is a lot
Choose the food with the higher %DV fibre content!