Whole Grains Keep Hearts Healthy

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In Honor of Heart Healthy Month, Doctor Kracker Offers Tips to Finding the Best Whole Grains

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According to the American Heart Association, Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) claims the life of an American every 37 seconds, making it the #1 cause of death in the U.S. The statistics are so devastating and almost apocalyptic that if CVD were nonexistent, the average life expectancy of every American would increase by seven years. That’s four years longer than if all forms of cancer were eradicated.

Since the introduction of highly processed, packaged foods 75 years ago, America has suffered the consequences in the form of obesity, diabetes and CVD. And with most packaged foods containing hydrogenated fats, too much sodium and refined fours and sugars, it’s no wonder the country has suffered from devastating health problems.

It’s common knowledge that fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains keep hearts and bodies healthy. Unfortunately, finding wholesome and great tasting whole grain foods these days isn’t as easy as picking up an apple or a bunch of carrots. Rather, nutrient-poor products, including breads and crackers, hide behind mislabeled packages, touting now ubiquitous terms like “added fiber” and “multigrain” hoping to lure in the health-conscious consumer. In reality, these foods may contain some wheat, some seeds,
but little nutritional value.

That’s why Doctor Kracker, a company dedicated to making the highest quality whole grain crackers and flatbreads, has created an easy to follow checklist to keep your heart and your taste buds happy. Next time you go through the aisles, print this out and take it with you to help you make healthy and delicious choices.

For deliciously easy ways to incorporate whole grains into your diet, visit http://www.drkracker.com.

1. Look at the first three ingredients

What you should look for: If you are buying a product that claims to be whole wheat or grain, ensure that the first ingredient listed is “whole wheat” or “whole grain” and that sugar is not in the top few. Ingredients are listed in order of predominance. Highly processed white flours go under the alias of ‘enriched’ and ‘wheat’ flour. They are no better than their bleached brothers. Look for the “Whole Grains Stamp” on products for an easy way to find the best in whole grain foods.

What you should know: Foods that tout being ‘wheat’ or ‘grain’ often contain more processed ingredients than not. For example, Kashi 7-grain crackers contain more ‘wheat’ (white) flour than whole grain flour.

What can it do: A study published by the U.S. Department of Health found if one group of people ate 1,200 calories worth of sugar and refined product, and another ate the same amount of calories worth of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, group #1 would gain weight and have a higher threat of disease.
Group #2 would not.

Doctor Kracker contains whole grains and organically grown seeds .

2. Scan for fat sources: Hydrogenated Oils

What is it? Hydrogenated oils are essential fatty acids that are chemically converted into a more stable source of fat. By forcing hydrogen into oil at high pressure, the original unsaturated fats are converted into trans fats, which have been linked to CVD.

What can they do? When hydrogenated oils are digested, they cause inflammation inside of the body, signaling the deposition of cholesterol to artery walls. That means clogged arteries heart disease. What are they in? Hydrogenated oils, used as an inexpensive source of fat, can be found in many cookies, crackers, and breads.

How can I avoid them? Look at the ingredients. Ensure that there are no trans fats, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils listed. Note that companies are allowed to label a product as “trans-fat free” despite some trace (1%) in the ingredient list. Even this small amount can be harmful. Choose fats from sources such as: olive oil, canola oil, trans fat-free margarines, nuts and seeds.

Doctor Kracker contains zero hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils. Rather they contain heart- healthy Omega-3 fatty acids from organic seeds that help cardiovascular health and improve brain function.

3. Locate sugar source:

What are sugars? Anything that ends in “OSE” is a form of sugar. Fructose, glucose, dextrose and sucrose are all sugar sources. But despite being similar in calories, these sugars differ in how they are metabolized by the body. Many crackers and breads add unnecessary sugars to improve shelf life and mask other flavors. If the food isn’t supposed to be sweet, make sure it doesn’t contain wasted calories in the form of sugar.

What’s all the talk about High Fructose Corn Syrup? There’s a lot of debate regarding fructose and glucose. Studies show that fructose is metabolized only by the liver, versus glucose, which is metabolized in a number of ways. When the liver is unable to process fructose, it turns it into fats that are harmful for your heart and arteries. Fructose, unlike other sugars does not stimulate insulin, leptin or ghrelin production- all of which help indicate to your brain that you are full. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is a modified fructose, made to be sweeter and cheaper, and because of this, is present in a majority of packaged foods. As a general rule, it’s best to avoid these types of sugars.

How much sugar is too much? A good rule of thumb is the higher in sugar and carbohydrates and lower in fiber, the worse it is.

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Margaret Jackson
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