Be Good to Your Heart with Whole Grains

The Fort McCoy Commissary is shown at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin.
The Fort McCoy Commissary is shown at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, March 25, 2021. (Scott T. Sturkol/U.S. Army photo)

Want to lose weight, help your heart or just feel better?

Then choose whole grains when shopping in the commissary. Eating as little as 2½ servings of whole grains daily has been found to reduce the risk of heart disease, according to research. A serving is about one slice of bread or a half-cup of a whole grain such as brown rice, oatmeal, wild rice, quinoa, barley or buckwheat. So be good to your heart and your waistline and go for the whole grains.

Choose whole grains while shopping and save 30% or more at the commissary.

-- Look for the words "whole grain" in large letters on the package. On foods that have 51% or more of whole-grain ingredients by weight and limited amounts of fat, cholesterol and sodium, there also may be the FDA-approved health claim: "Diets rich in whole grain foods and other plant foods, and low in total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers."

-- Whole-grain oat or psyllium foods may contain the claim: "Soluble fiber, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease."

-- On the list of ingredients shown on the package, look for the word "whole" in front of a grain to find a food that is high in whole grains, such as "whole wheat."

Get your grains

Eating brown rice for the first time and a little unsure about it? When cooking it, go half and half with white rice to break it in easily. Try cooking brown rice with low sodium broth and garlic in place of half the water for a special flavor. Add some wild rice to your brown rice for more whole grains with a nutty flavor.

Add bulgur, also known as cracked wheat or barley, to soups and salads. It is a good way to boost the fiber and protein in your diet.

Try quinoa in place of rice at your next dinner. Quick and easy to prepare, cook with low sodium broth and garlic or any herb you like. For something different, add some raisins, dried cranberries or nuts to the quinoa to get a little more fiber.

For more information on nutrition, visit the Defense Commissary Agency dietitian at

The Defense Commissary Agency operates a worldwide chain of commissaries, providing groceries to military personnel, retirees and their families in a safe and secure shopping environment. Authorized patrons purchase items at cost, plus a 5% surcharge, which covers the costs of building new commissaries and modernizing existing ones. Shoppers save an average of more than 30% on their purchases, compared to commercial prices, a savings worth about $3,000 annually for a family of four. A core military family support element, and a valued part of military pay and benefits, commissaries contribute to family readiness, enhance the quality of life for America's military and their families, and help recruit and retain the best and brightest men and women to serve their country.

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