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Living Well lIn Yalobusha County

By Pamela Redwine
County Coordinator
MSU Extension Agent III

Grains: Friend or Foe?

In an era of lowcarb, Paleo, and ketogenic diets, grains are more maligned than ever. Should you  go against the grain or not? Here’s the scoop on four myths about grains.

Grain Myths

Myth: Grains lead to type 2 diabetes and heart disease.  People who consume the most whole grains have the lowest risk of dying from heart disease. Population studies also link eating whole grains to a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Oats and barley, in particular, help lower cholesterol levels, which reduces your risk for heart disease. And their fiber helps improve insulin action and lower blood glucose levels – a big plus for people with diabetes or prediabetes.

Myth: Grains contain anti-nutrients.  An anti-nutrient is any compound in food that interferes with your body’s absorption of or ability to use a nutrient. Phytic acid in grains is one of those compounds because it can block the absorption of zinc and magnesium. But it takes a lot of phytic acid to cause a nutrient deficiency. Besides, phytic acid might even have some anti-cancer potential.

Myth: Refined grains are always bad.  It’s the actual food that matters. There’s a big difference between various types of foods made with enriched wheat flour. Wheat flour can give us bread for a sandwich of lean proteins and vegetables. But it can also give us donuts, cookies, and biscuits overflowing with sausage gravy. A few refined grains won’t undo your healthful diet.

Myth: Whole grains take forever to cook. Yes, brown rice simmers on the stove for much longer than white rice, but there are some great solutions to these obstacles. 

First is to batch cook whole grains when you have the time. Pack them up in single-serve containers to eat later in the week. Or purchase quick-cooking varieties that have been processed in a way to get them on your table faster.

Save The Date

The Healthy You exercise class meets every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 9 a.m. at the Multi- Purpose Building in Coffeeville.  The class is free, just make sure to wear cool, comfortable clothes, good walking shoes and bring water to drink. 

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