Why are whole grains so healthy?

Scientists are still uncovering all of the merits of whole grains. Basically, the point is that whole-grain foods retain the bran and germ as well as the endosperm or flour portion of the original grain. That makes whole grains foods better sources of:

B vitamins

vitamin E

selenium

zinc

copper

magnesium

fiber

and other nutrients that are lost when the grain is refined for white rice or white flour. Even though some vitamins and minerals are added back to refined grains after they go through the milling process, they still aren’t as good as the original.

The benefits of eating more whole grains are becoming clearer as scientists continue to examine the evidence. In fact, researchers analyzed several studies totaling 149,000 participants on the relation between whole grains and cardiovascular disease for the journal Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases. The findings showed a consistent association between eating at least 2.5 servings of whole grains a day and good heart health. The health benefits, researchers found, include a lower incidence of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis, high blood pressure and inflammation.

In addition, the American Institute of Cancer Research suggests that diets rich in whole grains can reduce the incidence of certain types of cancer. Not only do whole grains contain fiber, vitamins, minerals and natural phytochemicals (plant compounds not designated as “nutrients” that can protect cells from damage that could lead to cancer), but eating more whole grains, fruits, vegetables and beans could reduce the amount of red meat and processed meat in our diet — foods linked to increased cancer risk.

To incorporate more whole-grain foods in your diet, choose:

  • Oatmeal or another whole-grain cereal over corn flakes or other low-fiber cereals.

For more ideas, see the website of the Whole Grains Council at http://www.wholegrainscouncil.org.

Christiaan Janssens

​CRO Akwa Wellness

Originally published at exercitia.weebly.com.

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