Emphasize Healthier Carbohydrates
South Asian diets, particularly those that are vegetarian, are also rich in refined carbohydrates such as white rice and various types of breads. Eating healthy carbohydrates can help reduce the risk of heart disease by decreasing cholesterol levels, blood pressure and blood coagulation.
Healthy carbohydrates are the least processed or refined. Examples include:
- Brown and wild rice
- Steel cut or rolled oats
- Whole wheat or rye berries
- White and sweet potatoes (with their skin)
- Boiled dry beans and pulses
- Fruit and low-fat milk or yogurt
Refined grains are grains or grain flours that have been significantly modified from their natural form. Grains are refined using machines to remove the outer bran (like a skin) and the endosperm (inner starchy portion), either by grinding or sieving to separate parts. During refinement, the product may also be altered to change its properties so that it is more appealing. This can include bleaching, brominating and mixing with other grain flours.
In the United States, the grains must then be enriched to replace the major nutrients lost through this process. Most of the lost nutrients will not be replaced. Standard enrichment adds back thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and iron. Some products also contain added calcium. White flour and white rice may taste sweeter, but they are less filling and worsen blood sugar control in susceptible persons.
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