Go Whole Grain for Heart Health

Eating healthy is a priority for many Americans but knowing where to start and with what foods may be a little trickier. One way to level up the nutritional value of your meals is to better understand whole grains and why they are important for a heart-healthy diet.

As a key feature of heart-healthy diets, whole grains like sorghum, oatmeal and brown rice are rich sources of dietary fiber, may improve blood cholesterol levels and provide nutrients that help the body form new cells, regulate the thyroid and maintain a healthy immune system.

However, according to a survey by The Harris Poll on behalf of the American Heart Association, U.S. adults are least knowledgeable about refined vs. whole grains compared to other foods like fruits, vegetables and proteins. Also, when asked to identify whole grains and refined grains, most adults incorrectly believe multi-grain bread is a whole grain and only 17% believe sorghum is an example of a whole grain when it is, in fact, a nutritious whole-grain option.

If you’re looking to try more whole grains, sorghum is a primary ingredient in these heart-healthy Pancakes with Blueberry Vanilla Sauce. This flavorful dish can be part of an overall healthy diet as recommended by the American Heart Association’s Healthy for Good initiative, supported by the Sorghum Checkoff.

Find more heart-healthy meal ideas at Heart.org/healthyforgood.

Pancakes with Blueberry Vanilla Sauce

Recipe courtesy of the American Heart Association and Sorghum Checkoff

Servings: 4 (2 pancakes, 1/4 cup sauce and 2 tablespoons yogurt per serving)

Sauce:

  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Pancakes:

  • 1/2 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup whole grain sorghum flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup fat-free milk
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon canola or corn oil

 

Topping:

  • 1/2 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt

To make sauce: Put cornstarch in medium saucepan. Add water, stirring to dissolve. Stir in blueberries and sugar. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Boil 1-2 minutes, or until sauce thickens slightly. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Cover to keep warm. Set aside.

To make pancakes: In medium bowl, stir oats, sorghum flour, brown sugar, baking powder and cinnamon.

In small bowl, whisk milk, applesauce, egg and oil. Stir into flour mixture until batter is just moistened and no flour is visible without overmixing.

Heat nonstick griddle over medium heat. Test temperature by sprinkling drops of water on griddle. Griddle is ready when water evaporates quickly.

Pour 1/4 cup batter for each pancake on griddle. Cook 2-3 minutes, or until tiny bubbles appear on surface and bottoms are golden brown. Flip pancakes. Cook 1-2 minutes, or until cooked through and golden brown on bottoms. The USDA recommends cooking egg dishes to 160 F.

Transfer pancakes to plates. Spoon sauce over pancakes. Top each serving with 2 tablespoons yogurt.

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