What are the Nutritional and Health Benefits of Whole Grains?

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Whole grains refer to grains that retain parts of the original kernel. These parts include the bran, germ, and endosperm. Because all components of the oats are intact, whole grains are healthier than processed or refined grains. Refined grains strip away the germ and bran. This process reduces the nutritional value of grains. Unfortunately, most store-bought grains are overly processed so they are not nutritious at all. In today’s post, we are giving you 6 reasons why you should switch to whole grains:

Contain Fiber

Whole grains contain more fiber than refined grains. Adults need about 35 grams of fiber every day. Unfortunately, average Americans do not get their RDA of fiber. Whole grains contain both types of fiber – soluble and insoluble fiber. Fiber bulks up the stool, slows down digestion and protects from cardiovascular diseases. It also reduces bad cholesterol and cuts the risk of colon cancer.

Two slices of dark rye bread will yield about 5.6 grams of fiber. But the same amount of white bread will only yield a measly 1.9 grams. Uncooked brown rice contains 5.5 grams of fiber while the same amount of white rice yields just 2 grams. Same serving of instant rice just contains 0.7 of fiber.

Aid in Digestion

Whole grains also aid in digestion. The fiber in whole grains bulks up the stool and regulates bowel movement. Eating whole grains regularly cuts the risk of diverticulosis. This condition occurs when the colon wall starts forming little pouches that cause inflammation, diarrhea, pain and constipation.

Whole grains also contain lactic acid. This nutrient promotes good bacteria in the large intestines. These beneficial bacteria normalize digestion, promote better nutrition absorption and even strengthen the immune system.

Protect from Arterial and Cardiovascular Diseases

Whole grains lowers cholesterol level in the body and normalizes blood pressure. Bad cholesterol increases the risk of heart disease while elevated blood pressure causes arterial damage. Eating just a couple of servings of whole grains will cut the risk of heart attack by 30%. Health experts say that any kind of whole grains will benefit the heart! And that the best kind is steel-cut for oatmeal.

Promote Weight Loss

Those who eat whole grains rather than refined grains will lose more weight. This is a proven fact. One study that involved tracking a group of women fed a diet rich in whole grains lowered their risk of “major weight gain” by a whopping 49% compared to those who favored white bread and donuts. Over the span of 12 years, middle-aged men and women who ate high fiber foods will weigh 3.35 pounds less than those who ate more refined grains!

Reduce Belly Fat

Perhaps one of the most exciting discoveries about whole grains is that they help inhibit the formation of body fat. Some studies suggest that whole grains leads to a healthy distribution of fat in the body. Specifically, a diet rich in whole grains minimizes the chances of developing belly fat. This condition is called “central adiposity.” A large belly fat makes you vulnerable to diabetes, heart disease and major health problems.

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