Most people have a rough idea that wholegrain foods are good for you. But did you know that wholegrains really do offer a ‘complete package’ of health benefits?
Unlike refined grains, which are stripped of their natural nutrients during the refining process, wholegrains are filled with fiber, plant-based protein, vitamins, minerals, and a plethora of phytochemicals that can improve health. They consist of three parts: the bran, germ, and endosperm. The bran is the fiber-rich outer layer and is packed with copper, zinc, magnesium, iron, antioxidants and vitamins. The germ is the core of the seed and is rich in vitamin E, healthy fats, B vitamins, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. The endosperm is the inside layer, made up of carbohydrates, protein, B vitamins and minerals.
Sounds pretty good, right?
But what exactly are wholegrains and how, precisely, will they help to improve health?
All grains start life as whole grains. Essentially, they are the entire seed of a plant – the natural state grain. Sometimes referred to as a ‘kernel’, wholegrains are protected by sunlight, pests, water and disease, thanks to an inedible husk.
Wholegrains can be eaten on their own – think brown rice and oatmeal – or added to make wholegrain products like bread, breakfast cereals and chapati. They include popular grains like:
- Brown rice
- Spelt wheat
- Bulgur wheat
- Wild rice.
And less common grains like:
- Canary seed
Health benefits of wholegrains
1. Preventing heart disease
Dietary fiber from whole grains can improve blood cholesterol levels and lowers the risk of heart disease and/or stroke. Their intake is associated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease with two to four serves each day thought to reduce heart disease risk by as much as 40 percent. That’s equal to the effect of statin drugs. A notable study on strokes found that eating 2.7 serves of wholegrains per day could reduce stroke risk by as much as 31 percent. .
2. Preventing diabetes
If you have diabetes, fiber should be your best friend. This is because the body can’t break it down, leading to peaks in blood sugar levels. As fiber moves through your body, it helps with digestion, cholesterol, blood sugar levels, and will keep you feeling fuller for longer.
Wholegrains are loaded with fiber, and studies have shown that a diet high in wholegrains can reduce the risk of diabetes that may be mediated by cereal fiber.
3. Fighting obesity
Obesity is a genuine public health concern and the Herald/Age Lateral Economics Index predicts that the cost to Australia’s collective wellbeing is over $120 billion. Wholegrains are, without a doubt, one of the best foods you can eat for regulating bodyweight.
Wholegrains are naturally low-fat and low-cholesterol. They keep you full for longer, reducing the chance of you snacking. According to many weight loss experts, switching from refined grains to wholegrains and upping your intake for just two weeks can make a big difference to your weight. A recent study suggests that wholegrains increase metabolism and can help with calorie loss.
4. Decreasing inflammation
Plant-based proteins are a great substitute for meat, which can cause inflammation thanks to saturated fat. That said, their benefits are reduced when refined or milled into flour. The starch becomes a high-glycemic-load food, meaning it rapidly converts to glucose, causing spikes in blood sugar and inflammation. So for inflammation, it’s recommended you stay away from refined and stick to wholegrains, like oats.
5. Helping with recovery
Wholegrains are great for refuelling after a run or workout, as they contain both carbs and protein. Wholegrains kick off the process known as biosynthesis, which is the rebuilding of damaged tissue. This process is crucial for body contouring and toning.
6. Aiding digestion
Because the body struggles to break down the high levels of fiber in wholegrains, fiber moves through the entire digestive tract, softening stool while adding bulk. This helps to regulate bowel movements and lowers the incidence of constipation. Eating high-fiber wholegrains also relieves pressure in the intestines.
7. Preventing cancer
In 2016, a review of 20 studies showed a reduced risk of cancer in those who eat wholegrains, especially in colorectal cancer. Additionally, the role of fiber as a prebiotic and antioxidant, together with phytic acid, phenolic acids and saponins, can slow the development of cancer.
Switching to wholegrains for better health
Switching to a diet that’s richer in wholegrains doesn’t have to be difficult. It’s just a case of swapping one for another. So, if white pasta and bread is a staple in your household, it’s probably time you switched to wholegrains!
Choose Kang Kang Wholegrain Noodles today for a healthier noodle choice.