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Get Healthy With Whole Grains

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So just what is a whole grain? It's exactly that: the entire grain, including the germ, endosperm, and bran. That's opposite of refined grains, which have been stripped of fiber and nutrients, Whole grains expose your body to a much broader spectrum of nutrients. That includes protein, fiber, iron, B vitamins, trace minerals and antioxidants. Plus, studies show that people who consume whole grains tend to be thinner and at a lower risk for diabetes and dementia.
The USDA recommends adults get at least three servings of whole grains a day but that doesn't necessarily mean three helpings of bread or pasta. Read on to discover 5 whole grains and how to use them. 

What it is: Yes, your favorite movie treat is a whole grain! (As is every kind of corn.) When heated, the whole kernel pops into the crunchy puff you know and love.

Health Benefits: Popcorn is naturally low in calories and fat and also a good source of protein, fiber, and antioxidants. Make it from scratch in an air popper or in a pan on your stovetop and add flavor to your snack with spices, a pinch of sea salt, or small hunks of dark chocolate.
Try this Recipe: Cocoa-Cayenne Popcorn
What it is: Wheat berries, the seeds of whole wheat, are ground into whole-wheat flour. The chewy, slightly sweet kernels can also be cooked into a hot cereal, served boiled and chilled in salads, or used as an ingredient in soups and stuffings.

Health Benefits: Wheat berries boast protein, fiber, magnesium, and iron, and they're also a good source of vitamin E, an antioxidant.
Try This Recipe: Warm Wheat Berry Salad with Dried Fruit
What it is: Rice is the seed of a swamp grass, and is cultivated worldwide. Whole grain rice options can be brown, purple, black, or red. (White rice is a refined grain.)

Health Benefits: Though it boasts less fiber than other whole grains, rice is loaded with B vitamins and antioxidants, and research links brown rice's phytonutrients to a lower risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Brown rice is arguably the healthiest variety—it undergoes a process that removes only the hull of the kernel, so it retains the most nutritional value.
Try this Recipe: Egg and Rice Salad to Go
What it is: There are many kinds of oats on the shelves, from steel-cut (which are lower on the glycemic index) to old-fashioned to quick cooking. But no matter what type you buy, oats almost always contain their bran and germ, so it's a safe bet you're getting a whole grain. Nutritionally, all types of oats are nearly identical regardless of how they are processed.

Health Benefits: Oats contain beta-glucan, which has been found to reduce cholesterol. "They also contain a unique antioxidant, avenanthramides, which helps protect blood vessels from LDL (the "bad") cholesterol," adds Sass.
Try this Recipe: Blueberry Oat Pancakes with Maple Yogurt
Get Healthy With Whole GrainsWhat it is: Many know millet as the main ingredient in bird food, but this mild and nutty-tasting cereal grass can be used in pilafs, cookies, and breads. Like all whole grains, you should wash millet before cooking. To enhance the nutty flavor, roast the grains before boiling. Millet can be bought in bulk; you'll have an easier time finding it at more specialized markets.

Health Benefits: Millet is gluten-free and contains significant amounts of magnesium, copper, and phosphorus. Its high fiber content is great for digestion, and it contains only simple sugars. Studies show that it contains antioxidants that may reduce the risk of vision problems in adults.
Try this Recipe: Hearty Multigrain Bread