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A Healthful Diet
Meeting Daily Nutritional Guidelines - Tips
Servings and Serving Sizes
Calcium and Iron
Fruits and Vegetables
Foods made from grains, such as wheat, rice and oats are essential to a healthful diet and proper digestion. They provide vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, including starch and dietary fiber, and other elements that are essential for good health. Natural grain products are very low in fat, unless fat is added in the processing or preparation of the food product. Whole grains are significantly better for health than are refined grains, as they contain more nutrients and far more fiber. Always attempt to eat whole grain foods when choosing any grain products. More and more evidence suggests that eating plenty of grain products and fiber rich foods protects the body against a number of diseases. Plenty of fiber nutrition in the diet helps to aid digestion.
Very few North Americans get the recommended amount of fiber required for health and body maintenance. Whole grains, as well as fruits and vegetables, offer excellent sources of fiber and promote proper bowel functioning. Always attempt to get enough fiber from foods instead of fiber supplements, as the supplements do not offer all of the protective health benefits that fiber from food supplies.
Excellent sources of grains include:
- brown rice
- whole oats
- bulgur (cracked wheat)
- whole rye
- graham flour
- pearl barley
- whole wheat
Any foods that are "whole wheat" are preferable. When selecting breads, rice, pastas and crackers, always look for the words whole wheat or whole grain. Calories in grains can be managed by eating whole grains as opposed to refined grains. Refined grains typically contain more calories and less vitamins. Get the most benefits from grains eaten by consuming fewer processed foods.
The U.S. Government's Food and Nutrition Information Center offers detailed information about nutritional guidelines for Americans. The National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases offers excellent resources on nutrition and other health issues.
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