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Wholegrains and heart health
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Wholegrains and heart health

All you need to know about wholegrains to put you on the right track

Key takeaways

  • Wholegrains are foods that use the whole grain, like wholegrain bread, wholemeal pasta and oats. 
  • Eating wholegrains can help lower your risk of heart disease.
  • ​The fibre in wholegrains can help reduce and regulate your cholesterol.  
  • Swapping refined grains for wholegrain foods can improve your heart health. 
3 min read

You might have heard that wholegrains are part of a healthy diet, but what are they? And why are they essential to your health? 

There are a lot of choices when buying a loaf of bread or box of cereal. Plus, the information on the packaging can be hard to understand. 

Learning more about wholegrain foods will help you know what to value and what to prioritise. 

Here’s all you need to know about wholegrains to put you on the right track.

Types of grains 

The term ‘grains’ usually includes: 

  • Wheat 
  • Corn (maize) 
  • Rice 
  • Barley 
  • Oats 
  • Rye  
  • Millet 
  • Quinoa 
  • Teff.  

These grains can be eaten whole or made into products like couscous (wheat) and polenta (corn). Bread, breakfast cereals, pasta, and noodles are also made from different types of grains. 

The terms ‘wholegrain’ or ‘refined grain’ refers to how processed the grains are. Opting for wholegrains instead of refined grains can help improve your heart health. 

What are wholegrains? 

Wholegrains are foods that include all three parts of the grain: bran, germ and endosperm.  

Wholegrain foods are less processed and therefore contain more fibre and vitamins and minerals than other grain foods.  

Examples of wholegrains include: 

  • Brown rice 
  • Wholemeal flour 
  • Oats 
  • Wholegrain bread 
  • Popcorn 
  • Buckwheat. 

Refined grains, on the other hand, are more processed and some of the grain is removed. These grains contain less fibre, vitamins and minerals, making them a less healthy option.  

Examples of refined grains include: 

  • White rice 
  • White bread 
  • Pasta  
  • Processed breakfast cereals  
  • White flour.  

What are the health benefits of wholegrains? 

Replacing refined grains in your diet with wholegrains can be good for your heart. 

The fibre in wholegrain foods can help reduce LDL cholesterol (known as bad cholesterol), and this can lower your risk of heart disease.  

As a bonus, the fibre in wholegrains also helps you feel fuller for longer, which can help with weight management. 

Wholegrain food swaps 

Eating more wholegrains doesn’t have to be hard. Try these deliciously simple swaps in your meals to help improve your heart health. 

Swap this  

For this

White rice 

Brown rice 

White bread 

Wholegrain bread  

White flour 

Wholemeal flour  

Highly processed breakfast cereal 

Oats  

Water crackers 

Wholegrain crackers 

 




Make small changes for a big impact 

Making simple swaps to your breakfast, lunch and dinner can be an easy way to help take better care of your heart. The first step is identifying any refined grains you eat regularly and swapping them out for their wholegrain alternative. 


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