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Given the popularity of gluten-free and low-carb diets, you’d think grains were out to get you. Yet you probably won’t get a better combination of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and complex carbohydrates than what’s found in whole grains.
According to a recent Harvard study, people who eat at least three servings a day of whole grains have a lower risk of premature death than those who don’t. (This supports previous research, which shows that a diet rich in whole grains may reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.) The best way to tell if what you’re eating has whole grains—as opposed to refined or enriched ones, in which the beneficial bran and germ have been stripped out—is to check the ingredients list for the word “whole” before the grain (such as “whole-grain flour”). Along with reaching for whole-grain pastas and breads, add risotto, rice pilafs, and sorghum to your meals. And if you’re gluten-free, that doesn’t mean you have to skimp on whole grains: Amaranth, quinoa, and millet are all great gluten-free options.