Saturday, February 23, 2013

Why Whole Grains?

Hey everyone! It's me Erica writing to you today.  And why whole grains are so much better for you is something that I've wondered about myself.  So I did some research and put everything I learned all in one place for you to find.  :)

So we all know that eating whole grains is better for us than eating refined.  But why?  What is it about whole grains that makes them SO much better for us?  Let's look at the differences...
The whole grain is comprised of 3 parts.  The bran which is the fibrous outer layer, the endosperm which is the starchy part we usually eat, and the germ which is rich in vitamins and minerals.  Refined grains only use the endosperm.  When the germ and the bran are removed you get a lighter and fluffier flour.  But you lose a lot of the nutritional value.

Both forms are a great source of energy.  There are plenty of carbohydrates in both.  But when you have the whole grain there is added protein, fiber and a ton of micronutrients like iron, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, and many B vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine, and folic acid.

So eating whole grains is not just about putting back in the fiber.  All those other nutrients that are found in the germ are good for you and can help prevent a lot of medical issues as well.  Whole grains can help lower the risk of heart disease because the soluble fiber helps to lower the level of LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream.  The nonsoluble fiber helps keep your whole digestive track cleaner, lowers constipation, and it may help reduce the risk of colorectal cancers.    Eating whole grains has been shown to lower insulin levels and also lowers the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. 

And if those aren't enough reasons to switch to whole grains, they can also help you lose weight!  Whole grains are higher in fiber which also makes them lower in calories for the same serving size.  More fiber will help you feel fuller for longer and it takes longer for your digestive track to digest.  And getting all those vitamins and micronutrients I mentioned earlier can help regulate your metabolism.  Why wouldn't you start using whole grains???

Here's a list of healthy grains to get you started:

Brown Rice
Wild Rice
Duram Wheat
Red or White Wheat

And one last piece of information before you go...When shopping for products made with whole grains, make sure you check the label.  If the product is truly whole grain, then the whole grains used in it should be the first ingredients listed.  If something else is listed first, then the product is not really a "whole grain product," it just has whole grains in it...and there is a difference!

Sources:  (great source for more info!)

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