When we say whole grains, we refer to those grains that have the original kernel and all its parts. This means it has endosperm, germ, and bran. These elements are in their original proportions. In refined grains, they remove the bran and the germ.
Nutrient content of whole grain food items is good
Lowers blood pressure
One of the most important risk factors for heart attacks is the blood pressure. Along with triglycerides and cholesterol, the blood pressure can increase the chances of a heart attack. But, you have some good news. You can lower the risk of a heart attack by 17% if you have a whole grain breakfast.
The intake should be more than 7 servings per week. They saw the same effect in women too. When the women substituted whole grain instead of refined grain, they noticed a large decrease in the blood cholesterol, insulin levels, blood pressure, and triglyceride levels. These changes were significant factors associated with a heart attack.
Helps reduce weight
If you eat less refined grains and more whole grains, you are likely to keep your weight under control for a longer time. A study conducted among women showed that the group of women who ate dark bread, brown rice, wheat germ, and popcorn had a 48% lower risk factor compared to women who preferred white bread and doughnuts.
In another significant study conducted over a 12-year period saw middle-aged people who ate whole grain cereal gain 3.5 pounds lesser that those who ate white bread and refined grains.
There is a higher level of antioxidants in whole grain foods than in the processed foods. The antioxidants help to fight free radicals that cause many diseases including cancer, influenza, and many others.
High levels of nutrients
Whole grains have Vitamins, minerals, proteins, and phytochemicals. The bran, which is the outer layer, has phytochemicals, B vitamins, antioxidants, fibre, and over 50% of the mineral content present in the grain such as magnesium, zinc, copper and iron. The endosperm is the middle layer that contains carbohydrates and proteins. The germ is the inner layer containing healthy fats and antioxidants.
Adults need fibre daily in their diet. The amount is between 25-35 grams, and it must contain both soluble and insoluble fibres. On a comparative note, the fibre you get from one slice of dark rye bread is 2.9 grams. In white bread, you have only 0.95 grams.
Also in ¼ cup of cooked brown rice, you find 2.75 grams of fibre. In white rice, you have only 1 gram. The main activity of fibre is to act as a cleansing agent for the colon. It fills the gastrointestinal tract with mass. The LDL ratio decrease and so it promotes healthiness. The blood sugar levels come within control. It reduces the incidence of colon cancer.
The whole grain food items are free from cholesterol. Also, they help reduce the cholesterol levels in the body. They help prevent the body from absorbing both the triglycerides and the bad cholesterol. It helps reduce the possibility of occurrence of heart attacks.
A study conducted on women showed that if the women at 2-3 servings a day of whole grain food, they had a 30% lower chance of getting a heart attack. They were less likely to die from heart disease than women who ate less than one serving of whole grain food per week.
They can choose any whole grain food – rye, barley, brown rice, whole wheat, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, or oatmeal.
Improve the digestion
Whole grain has lactic acid that promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria in the colon. With regular bowel movement, the metabolism improves. The appetite and digestion also improve. This is due to the fibre content. Due to regular bowel movement, there is less chance of diverticulitis.
This is an inflammation caused -n the walls of the intestines due to the formation of pouches. This causes diarrhea, pain, and constipation. Because of the beneficial bacteria, the absorption of nutrients improves. This might, in turn, augment the immune system in the body.
Whole grains give protection against
It lowers the risk of heart disease. In a study, they found that those who ate whole grain food showed a 38% drop in C-reactive protein (CRP). The CRP is an indicator of inflammation in the body. This type of inflammation remains linked to heart disease. In another study, they asked a group of 50 individuals to cut the calories for 12 weeks.
They divided the group into two – one would eat whole-grain food, and the other did not eat any whole-grain food items. At the end of the study period, both the groups had lost weight. When they measured the body fat, they found that the whole grain group lost more body fat from the abdominal region. Increase in the fat around the mid-section of the body is indicative of increased risk of heart disease.
The high amount of fibre and complex carbohydrates help the body fight diabetes. When you eat complex carbohydrates, it takes time for digesting it. In the meantime, the food passes along in the GI tract, and so there is less sugar to remain absorbed. All whole grain food items have complex carbohydrates. So, you hear the advice to eat whole grain foods to help tackle diabetes.
When you eat more whole grains, the metabolic rate remains increased. This promotes the burning of fats, and the body consumes the energy it produces immediately. This prevents the accumulation of the fat in the waist region. This belly fat is a significant factor in heart disease. By improving the symptoms, the whole grain food items help you prevent the incidence of heart disease.
This is a collection of symptoms that increase the risk factors for diabetes and heart disease. Eating whole grain food reduced the risk factors and promoted better health in the study group. The increase in the intake of dietary fibre and the presence of magnesium in the whole grains augmented the health. You see better metabolic activity when you increase the fibre intake.
Sources of whole grains
- Whole-grain barley
- Whole wheat
- Whole rye
- Whole-grain corn
- Wild rice
- Brown rice
- Whole oats
The bottom line
Check the label to make sure that it says whole grain content within the first three ingredients. This assures you at least 50% whole grain in the content. They may add coloring such as brown sugar or molasses to white bread to make it look brown. Again, check the label for the content.