While eating five to seven servings of whole grains daily sounds like a tremendous amount, the USDA serving size is small, so it’s not all that difficult to take in an adequate amount. Look for whole grain products, which are higher in fiber.
Serving Sizes Explained
The following are recommended serving sizes for your favorite whole grains:
- 1 slice of bread, 1 small roll, or 1 muffin
- 1/2 cup cooked cereal, rice, or pasta
- 5 or 6 small crackers
- 1 four-inch pita
- 1 small tortilla
- 3 rice or popcorn cakes
- 1/2 hamburger roll, bagel, or English muffin
- 1 serving of cold cereal (amount depends on type-check box label)
Benefits of Whole Grains
In addition to the power of oat fiber, researchers have been excited to learn more about the phytonutrients in grains and how they help prevent disease. The germ and bran of oats contain a concentrated amount of phytonutrients, including caffeic acid and ferulic acid. Ferulic acid has been the focus of recent research (that shows promising evidence of its ability to prevent colon cancer in animals and other experimental models). Ferulic acid has been found to be a potent antioxidant that is able to scavenge free radicals and protect against oxidative damage. It also seems to be able to inhibit the formation of certain cancer-promoting compounds.
Corn, one of America’s favorite vegetables, is actually a grain. Corn is a unique grain, as it is a source of five carotenoids: beta-carotene, alpha carotene, beta cryptoxanthin, and lutein/zeaxanthin.
Only yellow corn has significant amounts of these healthful carotenoids; white corn does not.
While oats are the flagship SuperFood of this chapter, the entire category of whole grains is an important component of a SuperFoods Rx diet.
An unusual feature of oats is that they have two “Super Sidekicks”: ground flaxseed and wheat germ. The Super Sidekicks really belong in a very special category because they’re so nutrient dense. Both offer super benefits in very small amounts. If you add just 2 tablespoons each of ground flaxseed and wheat germ each day to your cereal, you will be on your way to better health.