January is national oatmeal month

Benefits of whole grains.

I bet you didn’t know that January is national oatmeal month? This is the perfect month to focus on improving your overall health and increasing whole grains in your diet, giving you a good excuse to start the year off right. While January is national oatmeal month, all whole grains can have many great health benefits and can reduce the risk of some chronic diseases.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), grains are an important part of the five food groups. It is an important source of nutrients, like dietary fiber, several B vitamins, like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and folate and minerals, like iron, magnesium and selenium. You can read about more benefits at: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/grains-why.html

Accoring to Michigan State University Extension, eating whole grains, which includes oatmeal, can:

-          Lower the risk of heart disease

-          Help reduce blood cholesterol levels

-          Prevent certain cancers

-          Help manage your weight

-          Reduce constipation and diverticulosis

-          Prevent Type 2 diabetes

-          When fortified with folate before and during pregnancy, help prevent neural tube defects during fetal development

-          Prevent high blood pressure

-          Support a healthy immune system

So go ahead, fix yourself a healthy bowl of oatmeal and celebrate national oatmeal month! And while you basting in the benefits of oats, learn more from the Whole Grains Council. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that oatmeal is only for breakfast; it can be included in pies, savory dishes like meat balls, casseroles and desserts like apple and peach crisp. It can be used for on-the-go treats and snack squares. Also, try more healthy ways to eat oatmeal and kick up the taste a notch, follow 11 ways to wake up oatmeal.

Other sources of whole grains include, whole-wheat flour, bulgur or cracked wheat, whole cornmeal and brown rice.

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