February is heart health month and we’re looking at a few dietary changes you can easily make to maximize the health of your heart.
While there has been a lot of attention given to low carb diets recently, multiple studies have shown how including whole grains in your daily diet can benefit heart health by reducing the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
Whole grain foods differ to refined grains in that they contain the 3 parts of the grain kernel. These are:
- Bran: hard, outer shell, rich in fiber, B vitamins and minerals
- Endosperm: middle layer, mostly made up of carbs with some protein
- Germ: the nutrient packed core, full of vitamins, minerals, polyphenols and healthy fats
While carbs may have a reputation as being the food group that contributes to weight gain, the high fiber content of whole grains can also lower the risk of obesity. Fiber digests slowly which can make you feel fuller for longer, prevent overeating and support a healthy digestive system.
It’s the refined grains that you need to avoid. They have been stripped of the bran and germ, nearly all the fiber and nutrients are removed and you’re left with just empty calories.
Try replacing some of the white rice, commercial boxed pasta and white bread with Papa Vince’s Busiate pastas. Whether you choose the durum wheat or the tumminia wheat, both of them are made with the 3 parts of the grain and can support your overall health & wellness. Whole grains are an integral part of the Mediterranean diet, just eat them in moderation with a variety of fresh vegetables, just like they do in Sicily.