Unlike refined grains, Whole Grains are packed with health benefits. Whole grains have all of their parts intact while refined grains are only left with the endosperm as the bran and germ were removed during the refining process.
The bran, endosperm, and germ make up each whole grain kernel. The bran is the outer layer that’s rich in fiber and contains iron, zinc, B vitamins, magnesium, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. The endosperm which can be found in the middle layer mostly consists of carbs and has some protein, minerals, and B vitamins. The germ which is the innermost layer is where growth happens. It’s consisted of antioxidants, phytochemicals, B vitamins, vitamin E, and healthy fats.
Being mainly made up of carbohydrates, too much intake of refined grains can lead to health issues such as inflammation and obesity. Eating whole grains, on the other hand, provides numerous advantages. Here are the top 5 health benefits from eating whole grains:
Reduce the risk of having a heart disease
Eating whole grains instead of refined grains can significantly reduce insulin levels, LDL, and triglycerides. A study showed that people who ate more whole grains had a 47% less chance of having a heart disease.
Lower the chance of obesity
Fiber-rich foods are filling and help in preventing overeating. This is why diets high in fiber are highly recommended in weight-loss programs. In a study, it showed that having 3 serving of whole grains every day resulted in having lower BMI and central adiposity.
Minimize the risk of suffering from a stroke
Whole grains contain fiber and antioxidants that can help lessen the risk of a stroke. A study showed that eating more whole grains can help prevent stroke.
Reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes
Studies have shown that a daily habit of eating a minimum of 2 servings of whole grains may help in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. The phytochemicals, fiber, and nutrients found in whole grains may enhance the metabolism of glucose and insulin sensitivity that could slow down the absorption of food and prevent blood sugar from spiking.
Lessen the risk of digestive health problems
The fiber found in whole grains keeps the stool from being hard, making it soft and bulky that helps in preventing constipation. Also, some kinds of fiber in whole grains function as prebiotics and help nourish your good gut bacteria.
According to the Dietary Guidelines 2015-2020, a person should eat at least 3 oz. of whole grains daily.
When looking for whole grains to add to your diet, choose a product that has whole grains listed as the first or second ingredient. Check out the following grains:
- Whole oats
- Brown rice
- Wild rice
Be careful with the following as they are not whole grain products:
- Wheat flour
- Enriched flour
- Wheat germ
- Multigrain (can be a mix of refined and whole grains)
- Fiber (not necessarily whole grains)
Whole grains, however, are not for everyone’s consumption. People who are allergic to gluten, sensitive to gluten and those who have celiac disease shouldn’t eat whole grains. Having whole grains can cause them to suffer from joint pain, fatigue, and indigestion.
With all the benefits you can get, there is no reason why you shouldn’t include eating whole grain foods. There are many ways you can add whole grains to your diet. Slowly replacing refined grains with whole grains would be a great start.