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July 29, 2020 • Healthy Eating & Nutrition

Whole Grains for Good Health

Health food concept for a high fiber diet with fruit, vegetables, cereals, whole wheat pasta, grains, legumes and herbs. Foods high in anthocyanins, antioxidants, smart carbohydrates and vitamins on marble background top view.

Over the past two decades, whole grains have garnered a sparkling reputation for broad-spectrum disease protection and a large review of past studies adds further credibility to this wholesome food group. For the review, the researchers selected studies that focused on whole grains and the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. When all the studies were combined (about 80 total), people who consumed the most whole grains or cereal fiber were 18 to 40 percent less likely to get type 2 diabetes, and 14 to 26 percent less likely to get heart disease vs. those consuming the least. Consuming fiber-rich whole grains was also associated with healthier body weight.

Whole grains offer a virtual treasure trove of nutrients including generous amounts of fiber— the secret weapon for metabolic health. For best results, choose physically intact, unadulterated whole grains like oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, etc. as your top choice.

Here is one of my favorite grain-based salad recipes to dazzle your taste buds as you improve your health.

Barley and Bean Salad with Lemon, Basil, and Sun-dried Tomatoes

Serves 4-6

This hearty salad is perfect as a main dish or on the side.


  • 2 cups cooked barley

  • 1 15oz. can of beans of choice, drained and rinsed

  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

  • 3 green onions, sliced (green and white parts…no waste!)

  • 1/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives, chopped

  • 3 tbsp capers, optional

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 lemons, juiced

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

    1 tbsp dried oregano, optional


Whisk together the last four ingredients and set aside. Combine barley, beans, basil, sun-dried tomatoes, green onions, olives, and capers if using. Toss with the dressing and season to taste with salt and pepper. Let sit for at least 20 minutes to let flavors meld.


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 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, online June 26, 2913.