Learning for Life: Make the most out of your grain foods

Carbohydrates get a bad rap these days. They are blamed (often wrongly) for a whole host of health problems and are taboo on most weight-loss diet plans.

Whole grains are a wonderful source of complex carbohydrates, which provide our bodies with much needed energy, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Whole grains contain all parts of the grain and are far more nutritious than refined grains, which are devoid of most nutrients.

Overwhelmingly, research has shown that diets high in whole grains may protect against heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, some cancers and other chronic diseases. Current USDA recommendations are that we should strive to make at least half of the grains we eat whole grains.

Product packaging can be misleading, so be sure to read the nutrition label and ingredients list to look for the words, “whole grain.”

Barley has become a popular crop grown in Alaska. Locally grown, whole grain barley can be a delicious and healthy addition to your diet. For a free publication on baking with barley flour, stop by our office at 43961 K-Beach Rd., Suite A, Soldotna, AK 99669 or call us at 907-262-5824.

Submitted by Amorette Payment, UAF Cooperative Extension Service, Nutrition Educator, Kenai Peninsula District.

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