Human Nutrition, Diet and Health > HNDH Blog > Posts > September is National Whole Grains Month

​Did you know that people who eat whole grains as part of a healthy diet have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases? Grains provide nutrients important for good health and the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that at least half of all grains eaten be whole grains. September is National Whole Grains Month which serves as a reminder that Americans need more whole grains in their daily diet.

So, what are whole grains? While grains are any food made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley, or other cereal grains, whole grains contain the entire kernel, like the bran, germ, and endosperm. Whole-wheat flour, bulgur (cracked wheat), oatmeal, whole cornmeal, and brown rice are a few examples of whole grains.

There are health benefits to consuming whole grains as part of a daily diet. First grains are important sources of many nutrients, including dietary fiber (soluble and insoluble). They have several B vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and folate, and minerals such as iron, magnesium and selenium. Whole grains also help reduce constipation, help with weight management, and may reduce the risk of heart disease. It is believed that soluble fiber helps reduce cholesterol levels in some people.

How do we get enough in our diet?

-Whole grains should be part of your meals and snacks.

-Use whole-grain breads for sandwiches and toast, eat brown rice instead of white rice, use whole grain pastas with macaroni and cheese, spaghetti, and pasta salads, and try rolled oats or crushed unsweetened whole grain cereal as breading for baked chicken or fish.

-Snack on ready-to-eat whole grain cereals.

-Whole-grain flour or oatmeal can be added to baked treats.

-Popcorn is a whole grain and without the butter and salt, is a healthier snack.

Read food ingredients labels and choose foods that have whole grain first on the list like brown rice, oatmeal, bulgur, wild rice, whole-grain corn, whole oats, and whole rye or whole wheat.


Multigrain, stone-ground, seven-grain or bran are usually not whole-grain foods. Also food color is not always a good indicator of whole grain. Bread can be brown due to molasses or other added ingredients.

Select products with higher percent daily value (%DV) of fiber. Make at least half your grains, whole grains for a healthier diet and not just for September but every day of the year. For more information call your County Extension Office or go to


Submitted by Valerie Conner, Regional Extension Agent - Human Nutrition, Diet, & Health, 334-361-7273,


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