Whole grains are rich in nutrients like protein, fiber, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals. People who eat them as part of a healthy diet have seen reductions in chronic illnesses. Their impact on the health is undeniably great.
What are Whole Grains?
Whole grains are those which include the whole seed of the grain, called the kernel. The kernel consists of three major components: the endosperm, germ and bran. Some examples of whole grains are oats, brown rice, buckwheat, quinoa, corn and bulgur.
Whole grains that are refined have been processed to get rid of the germ and bran to create a finer texture. This helps improve the shell life of the grain. However, the process of refining may remove the dietary fiber, B vitamins and iron. If the B vitamins and iron are put back into the grain, it makes them enriched.
Nutrient Content of Whole Grains
Almost every part of the whole grain has amazing nutrients, such as:
The endosperm contains:
The germ contains:
–Iron, zinc and other minerals
The bran contains:
-Phytonutrients and minerals
-Fiber (main source)
You can buy each part of the grain separately like wheat bran, wheat germ, wheat endosperm etc. The oil in wheat germ is likely to go rotten quickly. As with trans fats, some manufacturers strip the bran and germ from the grain to extend its shelf life.
Health Impact of Whole Grains
Many vitamins and minerals are in whole grains, including dietary fiber, phytochemicals, phytin and more. Here are some of the ways these impact your health
Helps prevent cardiovascular diseases. This is one of the best impacts whole grain have on your health. There is strong evidence that shows consuming whole grains reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Helps avert hypertension. Hypertension is one of the major risk factors for cardiovascular disease, and this can be reduced when you consume whole grains. One study shows that consuming at least 4 servings of whole grains may help reduce the risk developing hypertension.
Improves insulin resistance and prevents type 2 diabetes. Some epidemiological studies show that people who consume a lot of whole grains have improved insulin resistance, thus reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Lowers the risk of colon cancer. In a survey of 61,000 Swedish women who consume whole grains, 24% had a lower risk of having a colon cancer. This just shows that the impact of whole grains on your health is amazing.
Helps prevent obesity. Research shows that eating whole grains or incorporating them into your diet can reduce the risk of being obese and prevent weight gain.
Whole grains, as we know, have many nutrients and phytochemicals that work together to prevent chronic diseases; there’s no single phytochemical, nutrient or specific mixture that has been identified as responsible for improved health. However, here are some of the mechanisms at work:
-The polyphenols help signal the cell and regulate genes.
-The compounds contribute to the low-glycemic-index property of whole grains.
-The bioactive compounds in the whole grain help prevent diseases.
-Whole grains have a prebiotic effect which may result in altered gut microflora.
-The food structure helps reduce transit time.
-pH changes happen in the colon.
Eating foods like whole grains as part of a healthy diet may help reduce the risk of illnesses like cancer, heart diseases, diabetes, etc. Furthermore, since whole grains are rich in fiber, it also help make you feel more full with fewer calories. Whole grains are beneficial in maintaining optimum health due to their countless nutrients. There is no doubt that they are an amazing food to eat to help us live longer.