Great Whole Grains: Fuel for Optimal Health

Posted on by Neal Barnard, MD, FACC

coucousLow-carb diet headlines may be a thing of the past, thanks to new research that shows whole grains can help you lose weight and keep it off. In addition to promoting longevity, slashing the risk of heart disease, and stabilizing blood glucose, whole grains are packed with fiber, which fills you up, promotes a healthy gut, and enhances immune function. Ancient grains are also the secret to this year’s Rio-bound athletes, with everyone from Olympic beach volleyball star April Ross to tennis champ Serena Williams using steel-cut oats, brown rice, and quinoa to fuel all-star performance. Want to put the science into everyday practice? Try this nutrient-packed couscous dish, which you can serve as an entrée or pair with a leafy green salad. For those looking for extra energy, increase the serving size. For those looking to increase vegetable consumption, simply integrate larger servings of brightly-hued plants into the dish. Let your taste buds and the nutrition rainbow be your guide. Couscous Confetti Salad Makes about 8 1-cup servings 1 1/2 cups dry whole wheat couscous 2 cups boiling water 3 - 4 green onions, finely chopped, including tops 1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced 1 carrot, grated 1 - 2 cups finely shredded red cabbage 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley 1/2 cup golden raisins or chopped dried apricots Juice of 1 lemon 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 teaspoon curry powder 1 1/2 teaspoons salt In a large bowl, combine couscous and boiling water. Stir to mix, then cover and let stand until all the water has been absorbed, 5 to 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Add green onions, bell pepper, carrot, cabbage, parsley, and raisins or apricots. Mix lemon juice, vinegar, oil, curry powder, and salt in a small bowl. Add this to the salad and toss to mix. Serve at room temperature or chilled.