Whole grains may seem a modern concept to maintain a healthy diet but surprisingly, they have been consumed by people for around 100,000 years. These grains are known to be great sources of essential nutrients, aiding humans to improve their sugar levels and heart health. Moreover, they safeguard us from several diseases. And we can’t deny, they can be delicious if used in creative and versatile recipes.
Here are all the health benefits of whole grains that you must know as you incorporate them in your daily diet:
Whole Grains vs. Refined Grains
Whole grains include food products made from corn, wheat, oats, rice, and other cereal. Some of the examples include bread, oatmeal, and pasta. Although experts recommend replacing half of the regular grains we consume with whole grains, commercial food products hardly contain them. Whole grains comprise germ, bran, and endosperm, which include millet, brown rice, popcorn, rye, quinoa, oats, wheat, barley, triticale, wild rice, bulgur, sorghum, and quinoa.
On the other hand, refined grains are ground into flour, hence, removing germ, bran, iron, fiber, and vitamin B. The grains have improved texture and better shelf life. However, they are enriched with vitamins and iron to add the missing nutrients. Thus, the food loses its natural form while missing essential nutrients.
6 Amazing Benefits of Whole Grains
The following benefits of whole grains will explain why health experts recommend we increase our intake of these nutritional grains in our daily diet.
- Highly Nutritional Diet
All grains are considered great sources of vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates but the healthiest of them are whole grains. They are nutrient-rich foods with all the essential minerals we require to ensure overall wellness. Whole grains are packed with antioxidants, copper, fiber, vitamin B, zinc, iron, protein, and beneficial plant compounds. You can also consume specific whole grains to get a daily dose of micronutrients, such as oats are good for zinc, manganese, iron, selenium, and phosphorus. The right consumption of whole grains provides us with the necessary selenium, iron, folate, and other nutrients that support our immune system, build strong bones, and process energy.
- Improved Digestive Health
As whole grains contain germ, bran, and endosperm, they are a greater source of fiber than their refined counterparts. The fiber you consume through these grains slowly travels through the digestive tract and improves your stomach health, especially if are dealing with constipation. Besides, it helps in preventing several digestive conditions, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), hemorrhoids, and diverticulitis. Thus, improving your digestive health.
- Healthier Heart
A study revealed that eating whole grain meals three times a day can mitigate the risk of heart disease by 22%. Moreover, another study concluded that whole grain consumption is associated with lower chances of stroke. The two severe conditions have been primary health concerns across the world. Hence, we can be certain that increasing the consumption of whole grains in our daily diet can ensure a healthier and stronger heart.
- Reduced Cancer Risk
Whole grains are rich in dietary fiber, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. This makes them powerful cancer-fighting foods, thereby, adding to the list of whole grains benefits. These grains have certain compounds, such as ferulic acid, gallic acid, and vitamin C that fight free radical damage and reduce oxidative stress that are often the cause of cancer. Supporting this, a study showed that regular intake of whale grains can be linked to a 47% decrease in the risk of cancer.
- Balanced Weight
If you are planning to start a weight loss journey, then whole grains should be a part of your diet. They keep check on your weight and ensure that you don’t put extra kilos. All thanks to fiber present in these foods that make you feel full for longer and combat untimley cravings. According to a study, women who eat whole grain meals have 49% lower chances of weight gain. Also, women and men who follow fiber-packed diets gain 3.35 pound less weight than those who consume refined products. Moreover, in a survey, three servings of whole grains every day reduced the body mass index (BMI) and belly fat for over 119,000 people.
Summing It Up
To increase consumption of whole grains, include them in your breakfast. When you start your day on a healthy note, it keeps you fit and energetic throughout the day. You have an array of options, such as sprouted grain bread, oatmeal, bean and vegetable salads, and whatnot. Try different recipes, explore your favourites, and make it a part of your life.
Kunal Tambe is part of the content marketing team at Two Brothers Organic Farms. With his team, he works tirelessly to create awareness about organic farming, food sovereignty, sustainable practices, nutrition, climate change and a myriad of issues that surround these topics. His content offers value to farmers, the agriculture industry and to end consumers. Besides writing and developing content strategies, he loves adventure sports and listening to classical music.