A whole grain is a seed of a cereal plant. Some names you’ll probably recognise are wheat, corn and rice. In the ‘whole grain’ category we usually rope in some pseudocereal seeds like quinoa and buckwheat too.
Products made from these seeds are known as whole grain products. Whole grains go into things like pasta, bread and cereal. So far, so simple.
When a grain is ‘refined’ it means that the whole grain is broken down into parts and some parts are removed. This is the stuff you’ll find in white bread, pasta and cereals. It’s the not-so-good end of the carbohydrate scale. Where possible, we should be opting for the whole grain options of these products.
So, why do we want to include whole grains in our diet?
For a bunch of reasons! Today’s post is all about the benefits of adding more whole grains to our day.
Reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes
In Australia, our type 2 diabetes statistics are increasing alarmingly. A choice we can make to help decrease the incidence of type 2 diabetes, is including more unrefined whole grains into our diets.
One of the chief advantages of whole grains is that compared to refined grains, they help keep your blood glucose levels steady, which can decrease your risk of type 2 diabetes, amongst other benefits.
Many studies have indicated that those people who include multiple servings of whole grain servings a day show a lower risk of diabetes in comparison to those who have just a little or no whole grains in their diet.
That’s reason enough for us at Chef Good to include plenty of whole grains on our menus. You can check out our tasty options here.
Reduce your risk of heart disease
Did you know that the leading cause of death worldwide is heart disease? It’s a pretty sobering fact, but one that we can do something about. When we make the right choices, we can reduce our risk of heart disease.
Enter whole grains. Whole grains have been shown to lower the risk of heart disease. And they do that in three important ways. Whole grains:
- help prevent your body from absorbing “bad” or LDL cholesterol;
- lower triglycerides; and
- lower blood pressure.
If you’d like to find out more about heart-healthy foods, check out last week’s blog post where we delved into this a little further.
Maintain your weight
Those who eat lots of whole grains are more likely to maintain their weight and, as a bonus, are also less likely to gain weight over time.
Why is this? It’s down to all the fibre in whole grains. The fibre helps to reduce appetite, helping us in consuming fewer calories overall.
Where refined grains have been linked to higher levels of inflammatory markers in the blood, whole (unrefined) grains have been shown to assist in reducing inflammation. One study found that whole grains (barley and brown rice) decreased markers of inflammation in the gut.
Why is inflammation a big deal?
Well, most diseases of the body cause inflammation, whether it’s heart disease, diabetes, asthma or arthritis. So eating anti-inflammatory foods assists the body and makes us healthier humans.
Reduce your risk of cancer
Fibre, fibre, FIBRE. It’s magical stuff, and whole grains are full of it. Adults need up to 35 grams of fibre daily, and our trusty wholegrains contain both types, soluble and insoluble (we need both!).
All this fibre will help to reduce your risk of colorectal cancer, and it also helps to control our blood sugar levels and lower bad cholesterol.