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Amazing Grains

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The American Cancer Society is recommending that individuals eat more whole grains to lower their risk of cancer.  Following are some of the reasons why including grains in your diet is a healthy thing to do:

     Insoluble fiber cuts cancer risk by decreasing the toxicity of certain bile acids

     Soluble fiber, particularly in oats and barley, may reduce LDL ("bad" cholesterol) levels without lowering HDL ("good" cholesterol) levels

     May make people less likely to develop colorectal, stomach and endometrial cancers and heart disease

     Soluble fiber, particularly in oats and barley, slows starch digestion, which may help diabetics avoid steep rises in blood sugar levels following meals.

     Phytochemicals (plant chemicals) in whole grains may also help fight cancer:

    • Lignans - may function as antioxidants. Women consuming lignan-rich foods are less likely to develop breast cancer
    • Rutin - may reduce heart disease risk. Helps prevent platelets from clumping together, and may help shrink LDL-cholesterol particles, making them less likely to stick to artery walls
    • Tocotrienols - contains antioxidants that help prevent LDL from changing into a form that is especially likely to clog arteries, and inhibits manufacture of cholesterol by the liver

     A good source of vitamin E, zinc, selenium, copper, iron, manganese and magnesium

The American Cancer Society recommends three servings of whole grains per day. Choose from a variety including: wheat, barley, corn, millet, oats, rice, rye, sorghum and triticale.


Tips for adding more grains and fiber into your diet:

  • Add bulghur  to salads and pilafs (a chewy, nutty flavor)

  • Eat oatmeal for breakfast a couple days per week. Add raisins or dried fruit for extra flavor and vitamins.

  • Add quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) to soups and stews. Quinoa is also very high in B-vitamins and protein (9 grams per 1 cup serving).

  • Mix flaxseed meal or powder into breads or sprinkle atop salads or casseroles.

  • Add barley to soups and stews, or try the following barley recipes:

Barley Soup:

1 C onions, sliced into thin rings
28-oz can chopped tomatoes
1 C celery, finely chopped
1 C carrots, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T fresh Parsley, chopped
1 t thyme
1/2 C dry barley
1-2 t seasonings (Mrs. Dash® , Spike® , or similar)
Salt & Pepper to taste

Sauté onion and garlic until tender. Add remaining ingredients and boil. Reduce heat, then simmer 45-60 minutes until vegetables are crisp-tender.

Barley Mushroom Casserole:

3/4 C barley
2 C mushrooms, sliced
1 C onion, chopped
2 chicken bullion cubes, dissolved in 2-1/2 C water
2-1/2 T butter
Salt & Pepper to taste

Sauté onions and mushrooms in butter until tender. Add broth, salt and pepper, and then boil. Add barley, reduce heat, cover, and simmer 50 minutes, adding additional water if needed.

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