When it comes to nutrition, NAMA occupies a critical role in the farm-to-fork process. As the “link between grain and goodness,” millers are essential in transforming the grain – wheat, corn, or oats – into bread, tortillas, pasta and other nutritious products.
These products play a significant role in the American diet, as well as diets around the world. The complex carbohydrates in grain foods provide essential fuel the body needs. Research continues to support the importance of grain foods in a healthy diet.
Enriched grains provide essential B vitamins which help maintain a healthy nervous system, increase energy, and may lower cholesterol. Enriched grains are also the primary source of folic acid in Americans’ diets. Since 1998, when the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) mandated that enriched grains be fortified with folic acid, the incidence of neural tube defects (NTDs) in the US has dropped 36 percent. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) named folic acid fortification of enriched grains as one of the top 10 public health achievements in first decade of 21st century.
Whole grains contain important nutrients such as selenium, potassium and magnesium. Whole grains are also naturally low in fat and a good source of fiber. The nutrients in whole grains may help boost immunity, lower blood pressure, prevent heart disease and some forms of cancer.
NAMA strongly supports the consumption of both enriched and whole grains as part of a healthy diet following the US government Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) recommendation to eat six servings of grain foods daily, with at least half of those coming from whole grains. NAMA works closely with other members of the “Grain Chain,” including bakers and pasta manufacturers, to provide the best quality flour to produce the wide variety of grain foods that form the basis of healthy diets around the world.
NAMA members also play a critical role in helping combat hunger and malnutrition, formulating and milling products used extensively in the U.S. Food for Peace program and also in the major humanitarian and assistance programs carried out under the auspices of the United Nations. In addition to being a major supplier of high quality food products, NAMA members work closely with the U.S. Voluntary Agencies, the office of Food for Peace, the United Nations organizations, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture in providing various technical support activities.