When it comes to healthy eating most of us know we should be eating more fruit and vegetables and cutting down on fat, salt and sugar. What seems less well known is that we should also be including at least three servings of wholegrain foods every day.

Evidence suggests that eating wholegrain foods such as wholemeal bread, wholegrain cereals, porridge oats and brown rice and pasta can help reduce the risk of illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, certain types of cancer and type 2 diabetes.

In the UK, we have a Joint Health Claim Initiative claim for wholegrain foods and heart health that was approved in 2002. The health claim says that: "People with a healthy heart tend to eat more wholegrain foods as part of a healthy lifestyle."

The health claim relates to foods containing 51% or more wholegrain ingredients by weight per serving. The term ’wholegrain’ refers to the major cereal grains including wheat, rice, maize and oats. Experts suggest you should aim for a minimum of three servings of 16g per day.

Data from the National Dietary and Nutritional Survey shows that consumption of wholegrain foods in Britain is extremely low. The survey revealed that one third of adults failed to consume any wholegrain foods on a daily basis and less than 5% consumed three or more servings per day.

In November, HGCA will be launching a new recipe booklet to promote wholegrains in the diet. See [http://www.wholegraingoodness.com] for more information.