There is much hype about whole grains nowadays and it's all for good reasons. A whole grain is a type of cereal grain that retains the bran, germ and the endosperm. It's different from the processed flour, whose outer coverings are removed to have a lighter texture and taste.
Since a good chunk of nutrients is in those outside parts, whole grains are a lot more nutritious and fibrous. Examples of whole grains include wild rice, brown rice, white oats, barley, oatmeal, popcorn whole rye and bulgar. Some people also consume amaranth, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, sorghum and triticale, but in lesser quantities. Read on to find out more about the benefits of whole grains for people's health.
There's no doubt that whole grains are packed with nutrients. Some of these include dietary fiber, B vitamins and folate.
Dietary fiber is important in reducing blood cholesterol levels and in lowering the risks for heart diseases and stroke. It also regulates proper bowel movement and prevents diarrhea, constipation and diverticulosis. On top of all that, fiber aids in healthy weight loss, giving a person a sense of fullness without having to consume too many calories.
Whole grains are also rich in B vitamins which include thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and folate. All these vitamins are essential for proper metabolism of the body, helping the body release energy from the protein, fat and carbohydrates that it consumes. These vitamins also promote proper functioning of the nervous system.
Folate is especially vital as it helps the body produce red blood cells. This is why, pregnant women are advised to take in folate supplements to prevent neural tube defects, spina bifida and anencephaly during the development of the fetus inside the womb.
Whole grains also contain minerals magnesium and selenium.
Magnesium is for efficient bone building and releasing of energy from the muscles.
Selenium, on the other hand, fights cellular damage due to oxidation. It also boosts the body's immune function.
Including Whole Grain into Your Diet
There are many ways to increase your intake of whole grain.
For one, replace refined flour with whole grain flour; instead of white bread, buy whole wheat bread. Also, instead of eating white rice, cook brown rice instead.
During breakfast, eat a bowl of whole grain cereal or oatmeal. Always add 3/4 cup of oats per pound of lean beef or chicken for your burgers, meatloaf, meatballs or taco filling. Use oat flour at home. You can do this on your own by grinding old-fashioned oats in a blender. Use this instead of all-purpose or bread flour for baking bread, cakes, muffins and other pastries.
Eating whole grains can boost your health. Studies have shown that people who consume whole grains on a daily basis have lower risks of coronary heart disease and stroke, among others, than those who do not. Make it a habit to include whole grains in your everyday diet for a much healthier living.