For thousands of years, humans are eating whole grains and they are a great source of many nutrients. Whole grains are considered the healthiest kinds of grains and many dieticians recommend including whole grains in plant-based meals.
Eating whole grains have a lot of health benefits. Some of the most common whole grains are brown rice, millet, barley, popcorn, oatmeal, bulgur, buckwheat, etc. More than half of grains you add in your plant-based foods are whole grains.
In this article, we will discuss the reasons for including whole grains in your plant-based diet. First, we will take a look at the different forms of grains.
Types Of Grains
Grains are the seeds of grasses that are cultivated for food. Grains are also called cereals and come in different shapes and sizes. There are mainly three types of grains; whole grains, enriched grains, and refined grains.
As the name suggests whole grains are present in the whole form. They are also ground into flour while retaining bran, germ, and endosperm of the seed. Whole grains are rich in fiber and other essential nutrients.
The refined grains have a finer texture and longer shelf life than other forms of grains. This is achieved by removing the germ and bran of the seed during the refining process. When compared to other grains, refined grains do not have enough nutrients.
Enriched grains are the form of grains in which some nutrients lost during milling are replaced. Most of the enriched grains are fortified with essential minerals and vitamins like iron, folic acid, and B vitamins.
Benefits Of Eating Whole Grains
High Nutrient Content
The whole grains contain a wide range of nutrients that are essential for your health. These nutrients include fiber, vitamins, protein, minerals, antioxidants, etc. Whole grains contain a number of B vitamins such as folate, thiamine, and niacin.
Reduce The Risk Of Heart Diseases
This may be one of the greatest health benefits of eating whole grains. Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death around the world. Including more whole grains in your diet will help to reduce the risk of heart disease. A recent study has shown that eating whole grains daily could lower the risk of developing heart disease by 22 %.
Promote Weight Loss
Whole grains are rich in fiber. Therefore, eating more whole grains will provide you with a sense of fullness and prevent overeating. This will ultimately help in losing extra weight and allows you to have a perfect body mass index (BMI). A review of 15 studies showed that eating 3 servings of whole grains a day could reduce the belly fat and lower your BMI.
Promotes Healthy Digestion
Indigestion can lead to several intestinal disorders. Therefore, it is essential to have proper digestion, and eating whole grains will help in healthy digestion. The fiber present in the whole grains promotes healthy digestion by giving bulk to stools. The fiber also prevents constipation. Some form of fibers can act as prebiotics that helps to feed the good bacteria living in your gut. These bacteria are important for your digestive health.
Reduce The Risk Of Diabetes
Studies are showing that eating whole grains may lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. If you replace refined grains in your diet with whole grains, the risk of developing diabetes will lower significantly. This is because of the fiber present in the whole grains. Fiber will prevent the risk factor of type 2 diabetes, which is obesity. Also, eating whole grains will lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity.
Lower The Risk Of Stroke
Eating whole grains may help in lowering the risk of stroke. An analysis of 6 studies that included nearly 250,000 people showed that including whole grains in your diet reduces the risk of stroke by 14%. Nutrients such as vitamin K, fiber, and antioxidants present in whole grains are also responsible for lowering the risk of stroke. Whole grains are a major part of Mediterranean and DASH diets.
Reduce Chronic Inflammation
Many chronic diseases are caused due to inflammation. Some of the recent studies are showing that whole grains can reduce inflammation and lower the risk of developing several chronic diseases. A significant reduction in inflammation markers was observed in people who replaced refined wheat products with whole wheat products. The results of these studies are indicating that eating whole grains will reduce inflammation in your body.
Reduce The Risk of Cancer
It is important to note that whole grains are not a cure for cancer. Some of the recent studies are showing that eating whole grains could lower the risk of developing certain forms of cancer. Current research is showing that whole grains are very effective in lowering the risk of colorectal cancer. It was also found that the fiber present in whole grains has anticancer benefits.