Karen Collins, MS, RDN, CDN
American Institute for Cancer Research
Q: I’d like to eat more whole grains, but I need to limit sodium, and many are surprisingly high in sodium. What do you suggest?
A: One easy way to get whole grains is with breads and cereals, though whether whole grain or not, these do often contain high amounts of sodium. So, to keep sodium in check, try expanding your vision of whole grains to less processed options. Compare labels to find lower sodium options like old-fashioned or one-minute oatmeal rather than instant, and shredded wheat rather than higher-sodium types of cereals. Instead of prepared whole-grain mixes, like boxed seasoned brown rice, that include large amounts of sodium (some contain about 500 mg of sodium per serving), choose plain, unseasoned whole grains (0 mg sodium) and add your own herbs, lemon juice and other sodium-free flavorings.
Some whole grains that cook in less than 15 minutes include bulgur, quick-cooking brown rice, whole-wheat couscous, quinoa and whole-grain pasta. Try wild rice, millet, barley, wheat berries, amaranth and freekeh (“free-kuh”) when you have more time. If some of these grains are unfamiliar to you, check the Whole Grains Council website or recipes from the American Institute for Cancer Research for ideas. Then have fun experimenting!
The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. It has contributed over $100 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has published two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the field, and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. Its award-winning New American Plate program is presented in brochures, seminars and on its website, http://www.aicr.org. AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International.