What makes a grain “whole”, and why are whole grains so good from your diet?
You will find the answers to these questions and more in the article below. But, first, we give you a brief overview of whole grains and what makes them special before delving into some of the ways they work in your body.
Whole grains are excellent for reducing your weight and regulating your blood sugar levels to minimize cancer and type 2 diabetes risks. However, they also keep you full for longer, so think about food less often, and you can reduce your daily calories.
To find out what makes wholegrain foods so healthy and how you can integrate them into your diet for a more healthy lifestyle – read on.
Wholegrain foods: An overview
You might have heard that whole grains are good for you, but do you know why? In fact, all grains are good for you; they contain complex carbohydrates, which are long strings of sugar molecules. These complex carbohydrates are turned into blood sugar and used for energy.
In addition, grains of all kinds contain vitamins, minerals, and they are excellent sources of fiber. Fiber makes you feel fuller and helps regulate your body weight – it also aids digestion. While most grains will benefit you in these ways, whole grains are most effective overall.
Unlike refined grains and enriched grains, whole grains are the complete seed cultivated from a particular type of grass. This includes the germ, endosperm and bran. That is why whole grains are the best source of vitamins and fiber. That is why they offer you the best health benefits.
Amazing health benefits of wholegrain foods
Grains are the seeds of grasses: in their wholegrain form, they contain the most enriched source of vitamins, proteins, and carbohydrates. Refined grains are ground down, eliminating many nutrients but providing a better shelf-life, and enriched grains have added nutrients.
Whole grains may not last as long on the shelf, but they give you many more nutrients and health benefits. With whole grains, you can expect high levels of fiber, vitamins such as niacin, thiamin, and folate, minerals like zinc, iron and magnesium, protein and complex carbohydrates.
So what are the health benefits? First, whole grains are very heart-healthy. They reduce the amount of cholesterol in the blood and helps to prevent heart disease. Whole grains are also excellent for the gut; check out the 6 Amazing Health Benefits Of Eating Whole-Grain Foods.
A reduction in body fat
These days people try all sorts of diets to reduce their body fat and lead a more healthy lifestyle. But the answer to regulating your body fat and maintaining a healthy body-mass index (BMI) might be far simpler than running a marathon or spending three days a week in the gym.
Whole grains contain high levels of fiber; this is found in the “bran”, which is the outer shell of the grain seed. Fiber passes through the digestive system relatively unchanged; it keeps the digestive tract healthy and makes you feel fuller for longer, contributing to weight loss.
The fiber in whole grains has a low energy density. This means it provides fewer calories for the same amount of food. Furthermore, soluble fibers form a gel that stays in the digestive tract for longer; this reduces the transit time for food and regulates the absorption of sugars in the body.
Reduce the risk of cancer
Whole grains are also effective at reducing your risk of cancers because of the antioxidants they contain. Antioxidants are molecules in the body that fight against free radicals – these are unstable atoms that damage your cells and cause ageing and illness.
The body has its own source of antioxidants to fight these free radicals, but you can support your system with more of them from foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Supporting your system in this way further reduces the number of free radicals in your system.
When you have fewer free radicals in your system, your risk of developing various cancers is significantly reduced. The most common type of cancer to be eliminated by eating more whole grains is colorectal cancer – it won’t protect from all cancers, but it’s a great place to start.
Reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes has become more common in society as more high-sugar low-cost foods are consumed. Type 2 diabetes is caused when the sugar levels in the blood become too high, and an individual’s sensitivity to the hormone insulin is decreased. It can be dangerous.
If you have type 2 diabetes, you might experience excessive thirst, the need to pee a lot, and unusual tiredness. If you are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, it will be a lifelong condition that you have to manage with medication and special diets. But whole grains can help.
Firstly, whole grains are excellent for weight control and for regulating your blood sugar levels. This is very important for those with type 2 diabetes or those at risk of developing the condition. Secondly, whole grains satiate your hunger and reduce your belly fat, which also helps.
So how can you get more fiber into your diet and get the amazing health benefits of whole grains? Often, people are put off by whole grain because it doesn’t seem exciting or tasty, but this is a common misconception. There are many whole-grain foods that you will want to eat.
What do you eat for breakfast in the morning? Do you eat cereal, toast, or a cooked breakfast? If it’s cereal, why not combine your favorite brand with a healthy cereal high in fiber? That way, you get the best of both worlds. You could also buy wholegrain toast for your cooked breakfast.
There are other ways to include more whole grains and fiber in your diet without sacrificing any of your favorite foods. For example, buy whole grain rice and flour instead of the white variety and always use whole grain ingredients when cooking. You can also snack on whole-grain popcorn.