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Benefits of Eating Whole Grain Foods

Updated on April 10, 2011

What Are Whole Grain Foods?

Whole grain foods are 100% natural products. They are not made with any processed flours. Some examples of whole grain foods are in the categories of bread, cereal and pasta. In processed grains, the outer layer of the grain is removed which takes away a lot of fiber and nutritional value. These healthy foods contain the entire grain not just the inside portion.

The outside layer of the grain is called the bran and contains most of the grain's fiber. The next layer is called the endosperm or kernel. It contains a small amount of nutrients but is the largest part of the grain. The very center of the grain is called the germ which contains the most concentrated area of nutrients and which is the seed from which new plants grow.

If you are not sure if a product is a whole grain food, look for the word "whole" on the packaging and also make sure one of the whole grains appear among the first items in the ingredient list. Some products made with grains are called enriched but in this case some of the vitamins lost in processing are put back into the grain product.

Some of the more common whole grain foods are:

  • Oatmeal
  • Bulgar
  • Brown Rice
  • Whole Wheat Bread
  • Buckwheat
  • Popcorn
  • Whole Wheat Cereals

Whole Grain Foods
Whole Grain Foods

Why Eat Whole Grain Foods?

Processed flour was first made in the late 1800's. Before that time, whole grains were the only type of grains used for cooking and there were less instances of diseases such as cancer, heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. It is thought that these diseases are more common now because of the lack of whole grains in the average diet.

The health benefits of eating whole grain foods are substantial. Here are some of the benefits of adding these foods to your diet:

  • Keeps your metabolism moving which helps to burn fat faster.
  • Your body takes in more beneficial fibers by eating foods with whole grains
  • Eating oatmeal or any whole oat food reduces cholesterol because it gets rid of LDL which are the bad cholesterols.
  • They contain antioxidants which are known to delay or slow down aging.
  • Have been shown to protect against cancer and heart disease.
  • They are a source of important nutrients for the body.
  • Eating whole grain foods give you a full feeling which helps in staying on a diet to lose weight.
  • Your body performs better on the nutritional value of whole grains.
  • Eating foods such as oatmeal increase the absorbtion of water which helps move foods faster through the colon and so reduces colon cancer risks.
  • Some of the whole grain foods will boost your immune system.
  • May reduce inflammation and the resulting pain from diseases of the joints such as arthritis.

It is recommended that the average person should have three servings of whole grain foods per day to acheive the most benefits.

Benefits of Whole Grain Foods

How To Add More Whole Grains To Your Diet

The benefits of eating whole grain foods are obvious but you may be wondering how to add these nutrional foods to your diet. The most common way to add whole grain to your diet is to simply purchase the healthy items such as whole wheat bread and make a sandwich or simply eat a bowl of oatmeal.

Because of the taste and texture of some whole grain, you may find it more difficult to incorporate the foods into your diet. You may want to mix the whole grain half and half with its processed counterpart such as mixing brown rice with white rice. Whole wheat pastas can also me mixed with regular pasta until you get used to the whole grain texture. Barley or bulgar are great added to soups or casseroles.

Try substituting whole grain items for the similar processed product. For example if you make meatloaf use whole grain bread crumbs or whole grain crackers as the filler. If you make breaded chicken or fish try using crushed whole grain products for coating. You can also eat whole grain cereals as a snack food. The best recommendation is to try some experimenting with various whole grains to come up with recipes that you like. However you do it, the point is to get some whole grain into your diet so you can experience the benefits of eating whole grain foods.


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    • pakpub profile image

      pakpub 7 years ago from Ohio


      It really is important what whole grain foods can do for you healthwise. Thanks for commenting.

    • Sandyspider profile image

      Sandy Mertens 7 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      You are right, we need to put more whole grain into our diets.