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The Healthiest Whole Grains

By Sara Butler

Carbohydrates are the red-headed stepchild of the nutrient world. But they've gotten that reputation because often people reach for the wrong ones. Refined carbohydrates such as those from cookies, cereals, candy, and soda are the real bad guys here, not the humble whole grain.

Include healthy grains in your diet and you'll see your health soar -- and reduce your chances of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease while you're at it. Here are a few of the best and healthiest whole grains that ought to be a part of your healthy diet.

Whole Wheat

Whole wheat is a simple whole grain to find -- as long as you're savvy about marketing lingo. Make sure the label of the bread or pasta product you buy says that it's "100 percent whole wheat." Don't be fooled by terms such as "wheat" or "multigrain." Look at the ingredients list on any product and look for whole grains at the top of the list. If it's not there, then give it a pass.

Whole Oats

Oats are rich in an antioxidant that helps to protect your heart. When you're buying this whole grain, make sure you see the word "whole" on it -- just as with whole wheat products. You want to buy whole oats, after all, not something highly processed that has had all the good-for-you-stuff taken out of it.

When buying products such as oatmeal, it's important to stay away from anything that also has high fructose corn syrup in it. Instead, create your own oatmeal with whole oats and some fresh fruit or honey.

Whole Rye

Rye is special in the whole grain category because it has more nutrients in a 100-calorie serving than any other whole grain. In fact, it has half the daily recommended amount of iron in it and four times as much fiber as whole wheat.

The issue is that most rye and pumpernickel breads are made from highly refined flour. So, make sure to look for "whole rye" on the label to snag all the health benefits rye has to offer.

Whole Wheat Couscous

Couscous is a type of pasta that is made from wheat flour that's been refined. So, when you're perusing the aisle for a healthy pick, look for whole wheat couscous instead of the regular kind. You can usually find this in natural food stores. It's worth the extra time it takes to find the whole wheat version, as it gets you five more grams of fiber per serving.

Whole grains are healthy and easy to find, so work a few into your meals -- there's no excuse not too!

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in St. Louis, Mo.

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