Whole Wheat Grain's Health Benefits: A Gluten That's Good For You
What Is A Whole Grain?
Whole grain is a necessary part of the human diet, just as protein, vegetables, and fruit. Unfortunately, the standard American diet often consists of refined wheat due to the ease, accessibility, and cost of it. Unfortunately, our body treats refined wheat very differently than whole grain wheat. Some of the great benefits of eating whole grains are weight loss, boosting metabolism, and maintaining health.
A grain is considered a whole grain if it contains all three essential parts, which include: bran, germ, and endosperm. Bran is full of fiber, the germ is full of nutrients, and the endosperm is the starch content. Most grains are refined grains, which means it only contains the endosperm. The bran and germ also both contain needed antioxidants along with a rich source of fiber. Non-whole grains may be missing these essential nutrients, which robs the body of necessary vitamins.
Vitamins Found In Wheat
Whole grains are an even more beneficial source of phytochemicals and antioxidants than fruits and vegetables. For one, they contain some antioxidants that fruits and vegetables don't have. They also contain Vitamin B, Vitamin E, magnesium, iron, and fiber.
Vitamin B - supports and speeds up the metabolism - improves immune system - prevents anemia - maintains healthy skin and muscle tone
Vitamin E - helps with nerve conduction - prevents anemia
Magnesium- allows the absorption of calcium, which will, in turn, allow for stronger teeth and bones - helps maintain a healthy heart - encourages proper muscle function
Iron - helps transport oxygen to the blood cells and gives blood the dark red color - also prevents anemia
Fiber - regulates blood sugar levels - helps you feel full longer assisting in weight loss
Do you eat wheat or white bread?
Whole grains can reduce your risk of heart disease and many types of cancer as well as decrease your blood pressure, blood coagulation, and cholesterol levels.
They can also help those with diabetes or other sugar issues because whole grains can help regulate your blood glucose levels.
Plus, you can weigh less. Studies have shown that people who eat more whole grains weigh less! One reason for this is it contains fiber that allows you to feel full longer, among many, of the other great benefits to your overall body. It also helps with muscle tone, and the more muscle tone you have, the more quickly you burn fat.
Guidelines are now recommending for people to eat half their grains like whole grain. That would be equal to three servings a day of whole grain products.
Common Foods with Whole Grains
- Wild rice - this is surprisingly tasty and can be found in many soups.
- Oatmeal - rather than eating plain chocolate chip cookies, add extra nutrients by making them oatmeal!
- Brown rice - I have to admit, I'm not a big fan of whole wheat rice, so we compromise and make half brown rice and half white rice. It still tastes good and has some health benefits.
- Whole wheat - Replace your white bread with whole wheat. It's actually quite flavorful. If you don't like the first kind you try, there are hundreds of kinds of out there. At a grocery store, they have a whole aisle of different kinds of bread. Just because you don't like the first whole wheat bread you try, doesn't mean you don't like all whole wheat bread.
- Whole oats - many kinds of cereal contain this! Look on the ingredient panel!
- Barley - also in many kinds of cereal!
- Whole rye - Try rye bread, personally, I am not a fan.
- Popcorn - yes, there is some nutritional value!
No matter what you choose to eat, make sure you are looking at the label carefully, as I indicate below. Some great cereals that do use whole grain are Grape-nut, Cheerio's, and Total, whereas Corn Flakes and Special K use refined grains.
Just because a product says:
- 100% wheat
- Cracked wheat
Does not mean that it is whole-grain. You need to make sure you see one of the labels on the side. The "good source" stamp contains half of serving of whole grains or more, whereas the "excellent source," has one full serving of whole grains.
Another good way to find out whether it is whole grain is by looking at the ingredient list. If it says "whole" then it is whole-grain. For instance, if one of the key ingredients is either "whole wheat," "whole-meal," or "whole corn," then it is a good source of whole grain.
It's easy to become deceived if you see an item that was made from wheat flour. This is not whole-grain, if it was made from whole-grain, it will say, "whole-grain wheat flour," or possibly, "whole wheat flour."
Whole grain is an essential part of our diet that we often forget, due to the cost-effectiveness of refined flour. There are wonderful benefits if we choose to put more whole grain, whole corn, whole wheat in our diet.
© 2010 Angela Michelle Schultz