From spaghetti squash burrito bowls聽and zucchini boats聽to pumpkin pie muffins and almond meal pancakes, we鈥檙e always looking for ways to get that delish carb experience while sticking to a healthy low-carb diet. While these plant- and nut-based meals聽are full of fiber, healthy fats and are great for those who avoid gluten,聽it turns out carbs may not be such the enemy we thought they were, and no-carb may be a huge health no-no.

whole grain breakfast

According to a聽new聽study聽by Harvard鈥檚 School of Public Health, avoiding grains altogether may not be as healthy as we once thought. The researchers found people who ate whole grains (around 70 grams per day) actually had a lower risk of mortality than those who ate little or no grains.

Specifically, those who ate whole grains had聽a 22 percent lower risk of聽overall聽mortality, 23 percent lower risk of heart disease and 20 percent lower risk of cancer.聽These findings are especially聽significant because they are the聽result of a meta-analysis, a combination of results from聽more than 786,000 people,聽12 published studies and five years of data聽from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

According to Qi Sun,聽senior author of the study, whole grains are healthy because they contain bioactive compounds, chemicals that promote good health. They鈥檙e also high in fiber, which lowers聽cholesterol and helps us feel full.

If you鈥檙e going to up your grain聽intake, you鈥檒l want to keep two things in mind: the type and amount.聽Sun recommends eating about one cup of whole grains each day, like聽oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice or whole grain tortillas. This means avoiding聽refined grains, such as聽white rice and bread,聽crackers, candy, cookies and sugary cereals, which raise your blood sugar and triglycerides (the amount of fat in your blood).

How to Choose a Good Grain

Organic Homemade Whole Wheat Bread

The next time you鈥檙e strolling through the grocery store, how can you be sure you鈥檙e choosing the right grains? Our friends at聽Prevention recommend these two tips:

1. Look for Fiber:聽Select whole grains with at least three grams of fiber per serving to ensure you鈥檙e getting the healthiest option.

2. Check the Label:聽Just because a loaf of bread is named 鈥淪even Grains鈥 doesn鈥檛 mean it鈥檚 healthy. To find the best聽option, always聽check the nutrition label聽to look for evidence of whole grains and plenty of fiber.

What鈥檚 your tastiest way to get more whole-grain in your diet? Tell us @BritandCo!