Bagan Specialist Centre has recently introduced wholegrains and dishes prepared with lower sodium salt in regular patient meals as part of its ongoing healthy eating initiative in collaboration with food industries. ‘Wholesome Wholegrain and Slash the Salt’ is a year-long project with a twofold aim: to encourage the consumption of wholegrains, and to lower sodium intake among the hospital’s patients, visitors, and staff.
‘Wholegrain’ is a term used to describe an intact grain that contains all three parts – the germ (which is abundant in essential fatty acids), endosperm (which consists mainly of carbohydrates and protein), and bran (the outer layer which is rich in fibre, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients). Grains are considered to be ‘refined’ if the bran and germ layers are removed, leaving only the endosperm, which means that ‘refined’ grains contain much less fibre, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Examples of common wholegrains include barley, oats, buckwheat, millet, brown rice, red rice, black rice, wild rice, rye, and wheat.
In line with the Malaysian Dietary Guidelines recommendations, Bagan Specialist Centre is committed to help its patients, staff, and visitors to make at least half of their grains whole grains. To achieve this, the hospital has started serving brown rice in place of white rice as part of regular patient meals. The project also involves providing ongoing education on the health benefits of consuming wholegrains such as improving digestive health and reducing risks of developing Type 2 diabetes, bowel cancer, and heart disease.
Excess sodium is linked to adverse health outcomes including increased risks of hypertension (high blood pressure). Most people consume too much sodium, often without knowing it. The most recent data suggests that the average Malaysian consumes 8.7 grams of salt per day, which is above the World Health Organisation’s recommendation of less than 5 grams per day. As part of the ‘Wholesome Wholegrain and Slash the Salt’ project, Bagan Specialist Centre is taking steps to reduce the sodium content in patient meals and to increase awareness of the health risks associated with excess sodium.
Experience the unexpected improvements in health with the small changes, let’s start eat well today.