Starting your day with a whole-grain cereal provides you with vitamin B-6 and fiber, not to mention some tasty options. Ready-to-eat cereals offer some choices when it comes to whole grains, but many of the actual grains themselves can also be used as cereals.
Whole Grains and Nutrition
The body uses the vitamin B-6 in whole grains for many chemical processes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You need 1.3 milligrams of vitamin B until you're 50, after which women need 1.5 milligrams and men need 1.7 milligrams. Pregnant women should have 1.9 milligrams and lactating women 2.0 milligrams of vitamin B-6 daily. The fiber in whole grains helps keep your intestines functioning well and prevents constipation. Up to the age of 50, women need 25 grams of fiber a day and men need 30 grams. After age 50 you need less -- 21 grams is the recommended amount for women and 30 grams for men.
Expand Your Horizons
Read the food labels on cold cereals such as granola to find the best whole-grain choices. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends products that include a whole-grain ingredient first on the list. Look for terms such as "whole wheat," "whole corn" or "whole rye," for example. For a hot cereal, you could choose oatmeal, but rice, quinoa, bulgur wheat and mixed whole grain cereals are also available. Many can be prepared as easily as oatmeal, although some will cook more quickly if soaked overnight.
- ChooseMyPlate.gov: What Foods Are in the Grains Group?
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Build a Healthy Plate With Whole Grains
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: National Center for Environmental Health Division of Laboratory Sciences Second National Report on Biochemical Indicators of Diet and Nutrition in the U.S. Population 2012
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Fiber