Starchy foods such as bread, cereals, pasta and rice are an essential part of our diet and our body's main source of energy, which should make up a third of our diet. A common misconception is that starchy carbohydrates are fattening but gram for gram, they are lower in calories than protein and fat.
Starchy foods should come mainly from unrefined grains (known as wholegrain), like wholemeal bread, wholegrain pasta and cereals which provide fiber, vitamins and minerals. Refined grains like white rice, pasta and bread, undergo processing stripping them off these nutrients making wholegrain foods the better choice for a healthy heart.
- Fiber provides bulk giving a feeling of fullness which may prevent unhealthy snacking and help us control our weight. This is great news for our hearts as carrying too much weight, particularly around the middle, can increase our risk of heart disease.
- Some fiber such as oats, beans and lentils, help lower blood cholesterol, so why not start your day with a bowl of porridge and throw in some fruit for an extra punch of heart-healthy goodness—you'll be doing your heart and arteries a favor.
- Wholegrain foods contain Vitamins B and E. The B vitamins allow the body to use and store energy from the foods we eat and Vitamin E is a heart-healthy antioxidant which can help protect us from coronary heart disease.
- Consider portion sizes and get a good balance of the different food groups—that's a sure way to a healthy weight and healthy heart.
Give your heart the best and make that swap today—go for unrefined all the way.