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Cereal and Grains Are The Secret To A Long And Healthy Life, Science Says

Cereal and Grains Are The Secret To A Long And Healthy Life, Science Says

Of the five food groups experts recommend we eat daily – fruits, vegetables, dairy, protein, and grains – grains are probably the food group most of your calories come from. Bread, corn and types of cereals such as rice, wheat and oats all make up some of our favorite foods. Even some breakfast cereals start with wheat or corn and are manufactured to look and taste the way we’e used to.

Science has shown regular consumption of rice, oats and other grains has more health benefits than you thought. Let’s look at the facts.

Improved heart and digestive health

Regular consumption of fiber is great for both your cardiovascular and digestive system. Dietary fiber, found in foods like corn and whole wheat pasta, is one of the many benefits of consuming cereals regularly. Wild rice, for example, is good for heart health because of its high fiber content. It lowers our LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels, which is good news for our hearts. It’s also good for bowel health and controlling blood sugar and keeps you fuller longer, which can reduce your risk of unintentionally overeating.

Decreased risk of disease

One key to living healthier is to do all you can to avoid developing chronic diseases like diabetes, obesity or cancer. According to the Whole Grains Council, studies have shown that eating cereals on a regular basis reduces our risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 21-30%. It has also been found to help reduce high blood pressure levels.

What else does the research tell us?

A 2015 study out of JAMA Internal Medicine concluded that higher intake of whole grains was associated with a lower mortality rate in both men and women. Which means your beloved whole wheat bread, oatmeal and rice should remain a definite dietary staple on your personal menu.

A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology suggested that quality carbohydrates, such as cereals, can replace the use of saturated fats in daily caloric intake to reduce heart disease risk. So by eating fewer calories from butter or red meat and more from corn-based products and rice, your risk of heart failure goes down.

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How to incorporate more cereals into your diet

  • Use whole wheat flour instead of refined white flour when making homemade rolls, scones, pancakes or waffles for breakfast
  • Make soup with rice or barley instead of noodles
  • Snack on whole grain crackers, popcorn and pretzels
  • Choose whole grain bread when given the option at restaurants

Starting the day off with a healthy, nutritious meal is a foolproof way to put healthy eating habits at the top of your to-do list. Here is a delicious oatmeal recipe to start your journey toward a longer, healthier life.

BAKED OATMEAL

Prep time: 50 minutes

Servings: 8

Ingredients

3 cups rolled oats

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1 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup redcued fat milk

2 eggs

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1/2 cup melted butter

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients, adding them in the order in which they appear above. Spread the mixture into a 9×13-inch baking dish

Bake 40 minutes and serve hot.

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Serving this dish with your choice of toppings adds even more flavor and health benefits.

A balanced diet overall is what’s going to help you live longer, happier and healthier, but making sure you’re eating the right kinds of foods in each food group is even more important. Cereals, if consumed as often as possible from day to day, will help keep your heart beating, your digestive system moving and your blood sugar under control.

Keep eating those grains! Your health will thank you.

Featured photo credit: tracyshaun via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

1. Understand Yourself Better

Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

2. Keep Track of Small Changes

I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

3. Become Aware of What Matters

As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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4. Boost Creativity

The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

6. Process Life Experiences

When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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7. Stress Relief

In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

8. Provide Direction

Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

9. Solve Problems

Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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10. Find Relief From Fighting

Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

11. Find Meaning in Life

Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

12. Allow Yourself to Focus

Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

14. Let the Past Go

I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

15. Allow Freedom

Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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16. Enhance Your Career

Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

18. Catalog Your Life for Others

No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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