For tens of thousands of years, whole grains have become a staple of the human diet. However, supporters of many western diets, such as the paleo diet, argue that grains are unhealthy. While a high consumption of processed grains has been attributed to health issues such as obesity and inflammation, whole grains are the opposite.
But, what exactly are whole grains?
Grains are the seeds of cereals, which are grass-like plants. Grain, rice, and wheat are some of the most popular varieties. Buckwheat, quinoa, and amaranth are examples of pseudocereals (non-grass plant seeds) that are considered whole grains.
There are three sections of whole-grain kernels.
- Bran: This is the hard, outer shell. It contains fiber, minerals, and antioxidants.
- Endosperm: The middle layer of the grain is mostly made up of carbs.
- Germ: This inner layer has vitamins, minerals, protein, and plant compounds.
Rolling, crushing, and cracking grains are all options. Nonetheless, they are called whole grains as long as these three components are present in their original proportions.
Refined grains have had the germ and bran removed, leaving only the endosperm. Even if certain vitamins and minerals have been added to enriched processed grains, they are also not as stable or nutritious as whole grains.
Common varieties of whole grains include:
These include certain types of bread, pasta, and breakfast cereals.
1. Nutritional Facts
Whole grains deliver many important nutrients. These include:
|Antioxidants||Many compounds in whole grains act as antioxidants. These include phytic acid, lignans, ferulic acid, and sulfur compounds.|
|Fiber||The bran provides most of the fiber in whole grains.|
|Minerals||They also contain a good amount of minerals, such as zinc, iron, magnesium, and manganese.|
|Plant compounds||Whole grains deliver many types of plant compounds that play a role in preventing disease. These include polyphenols, stanols, and sterols|
|Protein||Whole grains boast several grams of protein per serving.|
|Vitamins||Whole grains are particularly high in B vitamins, including niacin, thiamine, and folate.|
2. Reduce The Risk of Heart Disease
One of the most important health benefits of whole grains is that they reduce the risk of developing heart disease, which is the leading cause of death worldwide.
Similarly, a 10-year study of 17,424 adults found that those who consumed the most whole grains in comparison to their overall carb intake had a 47 percent lower risk of heart disease. According to the researchers, heart-healthy diets can contain more whole grains and less processed grains. Nonetheless, whole-grain breads and cereals, as well as added bran, have been directly linked to a lower risk of heart disease.
3. Reduce The Risk of Stroke
In an analysis of six studies involving nearly 250,000 participants, those who consumed the most whole grains had a 14% lower risk of stroke than those who consumed the fewest. Furthermore, whole grains contain compounds that can lower your risk of stroke, such as fiber, vitamin K, and antioxidants.
4. Reduce The Risk of Diabetes Type 2
Consuming whole grains instead of refined grains can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes.
A analysis of 16 studies concluded that substituting whole grains for refined grains and consuming at least two servings of whole grains per day could reduce your risk of diabetes. This is due, in part, to the fact that fiber-rich whole grains can aid in weight control and the prevention of obesity, which is a risk factor for diabetes.
5. Reduce The Risk of Obesity
Consuming fiber-rich foods will help fill you up and keep you from overeating. This is one of the reasons why high-fiber diets are suggested for weight loss. Whole grains and products made from them are more filling than refined grains, and studies indicate that they can reduce your risk of obesity.
A study of 15 studies involving nearly 120,000 people found that consuming three servings of whole grains per day was associated with a lower BMI and less belly fat.