In modern world, with so many options of diet program, people tend to be careful in choosing what they should eat today. When talking about grains, some warnings like “avoid wheat”, “weight gain” and “gluten content” are common to occur, in the end, people will avoid grains at all cost.
However, those people just don’t realize that there are a lot of types of grains and not all of them are the ‘bad guy’. It is just a matter of being a wise consumer in choosing which grains product with higher nutrients. You must be surprised to find out about the health benefits of whole grains and from all the amazing list of the benefits nothing mentioned about gaining weight though for you who have been diagnosed with gluten intolerance should avoid it.
- Health Benefits of Wheat Germ
- Health Benefits of Wild Rice
- Health Benefits of Loaf Bread
- Health Benefits of Lentils
What is Whole Grains?
It is important for you to educate yourself first about what you should eat and what you shouldn’t eat. Whole grains are grains which still has the whole three parts, the bran, the endosperm and the germ. Each part has its own health benefits to human health. Though many diet programs have warned you to avoid wheat but it doesn’t mean you should avoid whole grains, because grains are not always wheat. Rice, brown rice, oatmeal, bulgur, wild rice and corn are included in whole grains product.
Even, some non-grass plant like quinoa, buckwheat and amaranth are also included to the list of whole grain. What you should avoid is probably the refined grains product like refined wheat which content is only containing the endosperm of the grain which mostly made up of carbohydrate. In whole grains, you are not only getting the carbohydrate from the endosperm but also fiber, antioxidants and some types of minerals from the bran and vitamins, more minerals, protein and some specific plant compounds from the germ. That’s why whole grains are highly recommended.
[toggle title=”Nutritional Value of Whole Grains” state=”closed”]
Since there are a lot of types of whole grains are impossible to measure the value of each type of grains. For the nutritional value, wheat grains are used as example.
|Wheat Grains (Whole Grains)|
Serving Size: 1 Cup – 120 g
|Generals||Value – DV%|
|Calories||407 – 20%|
|Protein||16.4 g – 33%|
|Total Carbohydrate||87.1 g – 29%|
|– Dietary Fiber||14.6 g – 59%|
|– Sugars||0.5 g|
|Vitamin A||10.8 IU|
|Vitamin E||1 mg – 5%|
|Vitamin K||2.3 mcg – 3%|
|Thiamin||0.5 mg – 36%|
|Riboflavin||0.3 mg – 15%|
|Niacin||7.6 mg – 38%|
|Vitamin B6||0.4 mg – 20%|
|Folate||52.8 mcg – 13%|
|Panthothenic Acid||1.2 mg – 12%|
|Calcium||40.8 mg – 4%|
|Iron||4.7 mg – 26%|
|Magnesium||166 mg – 41%|
|Phosphorus||415 mg – 42%|
|Potassium||486 mg – 14%|
|Zinc||3.5 mg – 23%|
|Copper||0.5 mg – 23%|
|Manganese||4.6 mg – 228%|
|Selenium||84.8 mcg – 121%|
|Fats & Fatty Acids|
|Saturated Fat||0.4 g|
|Monounsaturated Fat||0.3 g|
|Polyunsaturated Fat||0.9 g|
|Omega 3 Fatty Acids||45.6 mg|
|Omega 6 Fatty Acids||886 mg|
Whole grains has all the benefits of all the three parts of the kernels (the bran, the endosperm and the germ) and below is the list of health benefits of whole grains you could get.
Whole Grains Are Rich of Fiber
As mentioned above unlike the refined grains products which are only consisting of the endosperm part of the grains which are rich of carbohydrate, whole grains has its own perk of being rich in fiber since the bran is also included.
- Good for Digestive System
Fiber contained in whole grain, especially in the bran part is good for digestive system. It will provide the bulk to stools so the digestion system could work optimally and prevent some digestive problems like constipation.
Also read: Health Benefits of Fiber
- Fiber in Whole Grains Could Act as Probiotic
Some of you might now know that even fiber has a lot of types. Fortunately, some types of fiber found in whole grains could act as probiotic. In other words, it will feed the ‘good bacteria’ inside the intestine which promotes healthy digestion.
- Lowering the ‘Bad’ Cholesterol Level
One of the many amazing powers of fiber is it could assist in controlling the cholesterol level. Fiber will bind the ‘bad’ cholesterol or best known as LDL and then wash it away from body system completely, so the HDL could function optimally.
Also read: Foods that Lower Cholesterol Level
- Excellent Solution to Successful Weight Loss Diet
Many diet programs will warn you to avoid all kinds of grains product especially wheat, except for whole grains. As rich of fiber, whole grain is an excellent solution to successful weight loss diet because it will make you feel full longer and fiber will optimize the nutrients absorption and eliminate all unnecessary properties.
Also read: Health Benefits of Acai Berry
- Reducing the Risk of Colon Cancer
Healthy digestion system will reduce the risk of some chronic conditions; one of them is colon cancer. Furthermore, antioxidants were also found in the bran part to fight free radicals that will provide one layer of protection against colon cancer.
Also read: Symptoms of Colon Cancer
- Improving Bowel Movement
It is essential to make sure the bowel movement is moving normally. Normal bowel movement means healthy metabolism where all process inside the bowel is working without interruption and reduce the risk of conditions like diarrhea and constipation.
Also read: Health Benefits of Overnight Oats
- Better Nutrition Absorption
When intestine could not extract foods that are consumed optimally means some nutrients will be washed off and becomes useless. However, when intestine system is in normal pace, all nutrients extracted from food will be absorbed optimally and body will get all those important nutrients to fulfill the daily intake.
- Assisting in Controlling the Calories
Some people are using weight scale to count calories of food they consume. Well, it is not an effective way because sometimes is very difficult to control your appetite. Fiber will make you feel full longer so controlling calories that are entering your body is much easier when you’re not over eating.
Also read: Foods and Drinks Calories Table
- Reducing the Risk of Obesity
Obesity is not someone’s fault. Sometimes, it is not only about how you eat but much more about how your body processes what you have eaten. That’s why maintaining healthy digestion and intestine is more important if you want to avoid obesity and fiber contained in whole grain could assist you in this matter.
Also read: Health Risk of Obesity
Whole Grains Are Good for Heart
While many people thought that wheat is never good for heart but different opinion applied to whole grains which is actually really good for heart.
- Lowering the Risk of Heart Disease
Potassium found in whole grain is in relatively high amount. Though sodium is also found but potassium will cover up all negative effects caused by sodium. Not only that, whole grain is also rich of fiber and food rich of fiber always good for heart.
Also read: Benefits of Potassium
- Lowering Blood Pressure
It is not an easy task to control blood pressure but healthy daily diet will provide significant effect in lowering it. Whole grain cereals for breakfast is what you need to lower the blood pressure, the minerals will handle the blood pressure, while the carbs are enough to provide energy and fiber will make sure everything is functioning normally.
Also read: Symptoms of Low Blood Pressure
- Lowering the Risk of Stroke
Stroke could be fatal and even the survivors sometimes should suffer the side effects. That’s why if you could find a way to prevent or lower the risk of stroke, you should take it. The combination of fiber, vitamin K and antioxidants will assist in lowering the risk of stroke.
Also read: Health Benefits of Royal Jelly
Whole Grains for Diabetes
The number of people who are diagnosed with diabetes is progressively increasing every year. The main problem lies to the unhealthy eating habit. That’s why very important for you to start having healthy eating habit and whole grains could be put on your daily menu.
- Controlling Blood Sugar Level
It is almost impossible to control blood sugar from refined grains which mostly made up of carbohydrate but not whole grains which also contains other nutrients. It is due to some minerals found in whole grains, especially magnesium.
Also read: Tea Good for Diabetes Patient
- Reducing the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
As rich of fiber, whole grain is good to prevent obesity or weight gain to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, the minerals content will improve insulin sensitivity so there is no reason for type 2 diabetes to occur.
Also read: Long Term Effects of Type 2 Diabetes
- Preventing Gestational Diabetes in Pregnant Women
During pregnancy when hormonal condition is not in stable stage some conditions like gestational diabetes could occur. Don’t consume too much carbs because it is only worsening the condition but whole grain will prevent the condition.
Also read: Is Dates Good for Diabetic Patients
- Improving Insulin Sensitivity
People with weight problem will face more risk to diabetes type 2 because insulin could not work optimally to turn glucose in the bloodstream into energy. Whole grain will assist the insulin sensitivity during this stage so there is no excessive glucose in bloodstream that could lead to the spike of blood sugar.
Also read: Benefits of Gingers for Diabetes
Whole Grains as the Sources of Nutrition
Unlike the refined grains products which are only providing you with carbohydrate from the endosperm, whole grains offer you more nutrients from the bran and the germ.
- Excellent Source of Calcium
Now you know that calcium is not only available in dairy products but also relatively high found in whole grains. For those who are allergic to dairy products could fulfill the calcium intake through whole grains.
Also read: Benefits of Calcium
- Maintaining Bone Health even During Senior Age
During senior age, body could not absorb calcium optimally, sometimes to maintain healthy bone; body will use the calcium stock. Consuming whole grains during young age could guarantee enough stock of calcium during your senior age.
Also read: Health Benefits of Magnesium
- Protecting Teeth and Gum
When it comes to calcium, it is not only your bones that need it but also your teeth and gum. That’s why whole grains product will provide you natural solution to protect your teeth and gum from the younger age.
- As Rich of Vitamins for Immunity System Booster
Rice porridge is not only delicious when you’re sick but vitamins contained in the whole grains rice is actually good for your immunity system and assist in accelerating the recovery process after illness.
Also read: Vitamin C Benefits
- Rich of Folic Acid which is Good for Pregnancy
Folic acid is essential during pregnancy. It is one of the compounds that guarantee your kids will be born with excellent brain. That’s why consuming foods that are rich of folate is important especially in the first trimester since in that period, brain was being developed.
Also read: Health Benefits of Folic Acid
- Vitamin B Complex for Optimal Red Blood Cells Production
Red blood cells are essential for body metabolism. Red blood cells have prominent function to distribute nutrients, water and oxygen to the whole body cells. If the amount of red blood cells are not enough and then some deficiencies might occur because body is not getting the nutrients required for metabolism.
Also read: Health Benefits of Vitamin B6
- Preventing Baby Born with Birth Defect
During pregnancy, red blood cells are also required by fetus to develop. Without which, the possibility of baby born with birth defect is higher. It is because there are no enough red blood cells to develop the fetus.
Also read: Health Benefits of Apple during Pregnancy
- Excellent Source of Iron to Prevent Anemia
Iron deficiency could lead to acute anemia. Though for some people anemia is considered as common condition but in long term this condition could lead to more serious problem. Consuming whole grains product in daily basis could provide the iron daily intake to prevent anemia.
Also read: Health Benefits of Iron
- Containing Essential Minerals for Oxygen Distribution
Oxygenated body is what you should make sure if you want your body metabolism functions properly. Hemoglobin in red blood cells has essential role in distributing oxygen throughout the body cells and certain minerals like iron and magnesium are essential to the production of red blood cells.
Also read: Benefits of Oxygen
Whole Grains for Other Conditions
Some studies have been conducted to find out more about health benefits of whole grains and below are the list.
- Treating Childhood Asthma Effectively
There are some studies that stated whole grains could treat childhood asthma effectively. The studies showed that kids with asthma could get rid of the condition completely after they put whole grains as part of daily diet.
Also read: Symptoms of Asthma
- Could Act as Anti-inflammation
Many people just don’t know that some chronic conditions are actually just the after effect of inflammation. Since inflammation is actually the root of those conditions. Whole grains contain properties that could act as anti-inflammation.
Also read: Benefits of Curcumin
- Lowering the Risk of the Development of Cancerous Cells
The perk of whole grains is it is also containing relatively high amount of antioxidants from the bran. It is a common knowledge that antioxidants are effective in fighting free radicals that could cause the mutation of cells or well known as cancerous cells.
Also read: How to Prevent Cancers
- Recommended Food for Postmenopausal Women
After postmenopausal, women will face higher risk of certain cancers, especially breast cancer. Consuming whole grains in daily basis could reduce the risk that’s why whole grains are considered to be recommended food for postmenopausal women.
Also read: Health Benefits of Soursop Leaves
- Whole Grains for Whole Life
Just to emphasize, for having a whole healthy life, you should aware about what you eat and where it comes from. Whole grains will provide you a hope that you and your family will be living in a whole healthy lifestyle.
Also read: Health Benefits of Healthy Eating
Cautions and Warning of Whole Grains
One thing to remember, with all the impressive health benefits of whole grains, some types of grains are not everyone. Below is some cautions and warning of whole grains you should aware of:
- Most of whole grains products are not gluten free (except for wild rice, some type of rice, buckwheat and oats which are gluten free). That’s why people with gluten intolerance or allergic to gluten should avoid whole grains in all cost.
- As rich of carbohydrate, some people who are currently suffering from IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome should consult their doctor first about which type of whole grains they should consume because some like wheat grains are bad for this condition.
- For those who have allergic to wheat is better avoiding whole grains products or at least consult the doctor first.
Moreover, no matter how much benefits of whole grains are consuming them in moderate amount is important to make sure you only get all the benefits and leave all the side effects behind.
Choose Your Whole Grains Products Wisely
It is quite easy to choose whole grains products in its original form but how about products like bread, pasta and cereals? What you should do to make sure that those products are made from whole grains not just the refined version of grains? Below are some points you should remember when looking for whole grains products.
- Don’t be easily fooled by label ‘whole grains’ because not all of products with that label is healthy. Pay attention to the ingredients, especially cereals, some of the products are using refined sugar to add more flavor.
- When you find brown bread that looks healthy, don’t feel too excited because perhaps the brown color is actually using food coloring which is not healthy at all. That’s why only buying bread for trusted bakery only.
- When it comes to pasta, you should read the ingredients carefully and making sure the pasta is only made from whole grains product not the mixtures of other refined products like refined wheat.
There is no easy way to have healthy lifestyle because even to find the best products with whole grains content is not as easy as you think. That’s why instead of consuming instant products is even better if you could make everything homemade or at least finding one trusted bakery to supply your family with healthy whole grains bread only or be careful with your grocery lists, always pay attention to the ingredients. It takes time but important to do to make sure your family deserves all the health benefits of whole grains.
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