10 AMAZING HEALTH BENEFITS OF WHOLE GRAINS
Agriculture was invented more than 10,000 years ago. But before that, humans would get their food through hunting and gathering food. They would eat animals and wild fruits and vegetables. Agriculture introduced the concept of grains, pulses and other types of food.
Humans were then gradually introduced to vegetarianism and veganism. As people dependent on a plant-based diet were required to grow them by themselves, they would be required to live near water-bodies. This led to the establishment of civilizations and living near banks of rivers.
Today, we will talk about how vegetarians get their share of proteins from their diet and how whole grains are a great source of energy to humans. As meat is not a source of protein for vegetarians, eating whole grains becomes important. So, we will also talk about the benefits of whole grains.
What are whole grains?
Whole grains are the seeds of grass-like plants named cereals. Some commonly known grains are corn, rice and wheat. Non grass-like plants like buckwheat, quinoa and amaranth are also a type of grain. Whole grains have 3 parts:
- Bran: The hard outer shell containing fibres, minerals and antioxidants.
- Endosperm: The middle layer which is made mostly of carbohydrates.
- Germ: The inner layer having vitamins, minerals, proteins and plant compounds.
For eating, grains can be rolled, cracked or crushed. But as long as these 3 components are present, it remains a whole grain. If you remove the germ and bran from the grain through any process, it becomes refined grain. It thus loses some important nutrients.
Some common whole grains are oatmeal, wheat berry, popcorn, quinoa, whole rye, millet, bulgur or cracked wheat, brown rice, wild rice, freekeh, barley, buckwheat, sorghum, etc. Products made with these are whole grain products. You can make different types of breads, pasta and breakfast cereals using them.
10 amazing benefits of whole grains you may or may not know!
Whole grains are not only healthy, but tasty too. So eating whole grains will not only ensure that you get all necessary nutrients but it will also make your meals tasty and lip-smackingly delicious.
Without further ado, let’s dive into the amazing benefits that you are here for.
- Whole grains promote weight loss: It may not be a surprising fact that whale grains are rich in fibres. These fibres fill up your stomach so that you don’t feel hungry frequently. It leads to lesser belly fat buildup and lower body mass index (BMI).
One of the main reasons why my dieting and weight loss plans contain whole grains and not refined grains is because of the presence of high fibres and energy giving carbs.
- Rich in nutrients and minerals: Whole grains are a known source of many nutrients, some of them being:
Fibre: The harder outer cover i.e. bran provides the most amount of fibre in whole grains.
Proteins: They are naturally rich in proteins.
Minerals: Zinc, iron, magnesium and manganese are available in a good amount in whole grains.
Vitamins: They are rich in Vitamin B, niacin, thiamine and folate.
Antioxidants: Healthy antioxidants like ferulic acid, sulphur compounds, lignans and phytic acid form part of whole grains.
Plant compounds: Polyphenols, sterols and stanols present play a vital role in preventing diseases.
All my diets contain whole grains as an important component that you can get a daily dose of all these healthy nutrients.
- Good for digestion: Due to it’s high content of fibers, whole grains promote digestion. Fibers give bulk to your stools which will not let you feel constipated.
This is the reason why I advise all my clients to include whole grains in their diet. A good digestive system can promote your weight loss journey manifolds.
- Good for a healthy gut: The fibers, acting as prebiotics promote your gut health too.
- Lowers the risk of heart diseases: If your diet contains more whole grains and less refined grains, your heart will be able to stay healthy in the long run. With the added benefits of the above nutrients, you will stay healthy and this will promote the blood flow in your body.
- Lower risk of stroke: A stroke is basically the stoppage of the heart. But as whole grains take care of your heart health, your body will be less prone to strokes, than someone who does not consume a healthy amount of whole grains.
- Lower risk of type 2 diabetes: If you replace refined grains with whole grains, your risk of getting type 2 diabetes lowers down considerably. Obesity is a main cause of diabetes. And because whole grains help you reduce weight, the risk of diabetes is also lowered.
- Lower risk of cancer: Whole grains contain prebiotics and anti-cancer components that may cure colorectal cancer, the most common type of cancer. These also contain phytic acid, phenolic acids, and saponins that may slow the cancer development.
- Lower risk of chronic diseases: Due to the inherent nutritional benefits in whole grains, they reduce the risk of chronic diseases thereby increasing the longevity of humans.
- Reduce inflammation: The root cause of chronic diseases is inflammation. According to some research, including whole grains in their diet have helped women fight inflammation.
While there were disputes about the health benefits of whole grains, those disputes are often linked to refined grains. Unlike whole grains, refined grains are linked to problems like obesity and inflammation. Refined grains are processed to remove germ and bran, giving them a finer texture and extending their shelf life.
The refining process also removes many nutrients, including essential fibres. However, whole grains are not processed and still contain germ, bran or endosperm. They are eaten whole or in flour form. They lower risk of diabetes, heart diseases or high blood pressure.
But whole grains aren't for everyone. Wheat, rye and barley contain gluten, and some people may be intolerant to it. Fatigue, indigestion or joint pain can be some of the reasons for having gluten allergy, gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.
People may have difficulty in digesting some types of whole grains. Grains like wheat contain short chain carbs that may be a leading cause of irritable bowel movement. This is why I advise my clients having gluten allergies to replace their whole grains with buckwheat, rice, oats, and amaranth because they are gluten free and mostly safe for consumption for intolerant patients.