Whole grains are very essential in the human diet. Common whole grains include oats, millet, brown rice, barley, and sorghum. Similarly, products made from these foods are called whole grain foods. These include certain types of bread and some breakfast cereals. However, not everything that reads “whole grain” is necessarily healthy, hence the need to read about food package ingredients.
These grains are very healthy and here are some of the benefits they offer when added to a person’s diet.
High levels of nutrients and fiber
Isaiah Munene, a nutritionist, says whole grains contain bran that provides high levels of fiber.
In addition, they have more B vitamins along with folic acid, thiamine, and niacin. Minerals such as zinc, manganese, iron and magnesium are also available. They also have to forget about proteins and antioxidants such as phytic acid, lignans, and ferulic acid. While the nutrient content varies from one pill to the next, they are loaded with them and therefore healthy for our consumption, he says.
Foods made from whole grains are rich in fibre, and consuming it means that one gets full easily.
“Unlike refined foods, high-fiber foods fill one up very quickly which prevents overeating which is why high-fiber foods are ideal for weight loss regimes. On the contrary, they will prevent obesity because you have to eat three servings of whole grains. Religiously, and your BMI will drop dramatically,” Monini says.
Because of the high fiber content, eating whole grains helps the body reduce levels of harmful cholesterol that clogs blood vessels.
This also helps reduce your chances of having a stroke. In addition, whole grains contain vitamin K and antioxidants that further help reduce the chances of a stroke, says Nakimuli.
The fiber content of whole grains is an important component because it helps the body in various ways. For example, fiber facilitates digestion while giving bulk to the stool thus eliminating constipation.
“Some fibers also act as prebiotics and are good food for gut bacteria. This leads to more digestive health,” Monini says.
Reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes
Eating whole grains means that the body can maintain blood sugar levels.
For example, when choosing between rolled oats and instant oatmeal, your best option would be rolled oats because this has a lower glycemic index. The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly a particular food is digested by the body. Whole grains are digested Over a long period of time the sugar is released slowly and steadily in the body. The opposite is true for highly processed oats. In addition, refined grains may also contain unhealthy processed sugars, but whole grains contain natural sugars,” says Nakimuli.
Reduces chronic inflammation
Due to the fiber content, Monini says eating whole grains will help reduce systemic inflammation.
This condition occurs when you have chronic illness, stress or infection. Therefore, the body’s immune system constantly defends it. However, with health benefits like reduced risk of obesity, stroke and heart disease, eating whole grains means the body will put off chronic inflammation, Monet says.
However, due to the health of whole grains, they may not be healthy for some people with conditions such as:
Nakimuli says that if a person has celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity, they can’t eat whole grains or whole grain foods.
“Whole grains like wheat contain gluten, a type of protein that some people are allergic to. Others have gluten sensitivity or celiac disease that leaves them with joint pain, indigestion and fatigue when eating these foods.”
Reduce the risk of heart disease
One of the best advantages of adding whole grains to a diet is that it reduces the risk of heart disease. When refined grains are replaced with whole grains, it helps reduce LDL (bad cholesterol) so that only the good cholesterol remains in the body. This is due to the high fiber content, which facilitates digestion and thus reduces the amount of fat that clogs the vessels, says Irene Nakimuli, a nutritionist.
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