To combat heart diseases, diabetes, obesity and cancer, we have been repeatedly advised to eat plenty of whole grains. Well there is a whole grain (sorry we couldn’t resist 🙂 ) of truth pertaining to this sound advice.
Long considered as a staple of any healthy diet programme, consuming whole grains’ bran and germ help keep your body healthy, your skin glowing and your hair shiny. But hold on, there are obviously more health benefits and with that, here are 5 more reasons why you should include whole grains in your daily meals :
One of the most important healing aspects of eating whole grains is how it helps maintain blood sugar levels. Keeping blood sugar regular is a wise healing strategy because this can reduce inflammation, minimise sugar cravings, and maximise energy and mood.
The complex sugar chains in the molecular structure of whole grains break apart slowly and gradually raise blood sugar in an even and consistent manner. This process creates more endurance energy and a mental calm unlike the wide swings created by simple sugars, which release stress hormones, create physical tension and initiate the development of arterial plaque. Swings in blood sugar can stimulate strong cravings for simple sugars.
Ensuring bowel ‘regularity’ means that you reduce the amount of time that toxic bacteria remain in your intestine. This creates less of a burden not only on the intestines but also on the liver. The fiber that comes with whole grain, commonly referred to as roughage, is actually the indigestable part of the carbohydrate.
The outer covering of the grain absorbs water in the digestive tract, making the stool bulkier as it sweeps along the intestinal walls to be discharged. A bulkier stool passes much more quickly through the digestive tract, lowering the body exposure to ‘carcinogen-containing’ foods (and lowering absorption through the gut). When carcinogens are bound to the stool, they do not have time to ferment within the intestine.
Often, when people first begin to eat more whole grain and consume fewer foods and substances that stimulate bowel function (i.e. caffeine, sugar, tobacco), they complain of being temporarily constipated. In the beginning, you may experience several days of sluggish bowels as they become accustomed to purging themselves without the help from stimulants.
Within days, however, you will be amazed at your body’s adjustment to whole grain where you would notice a new regularity in a way you have probably never experienced. The net effect of this is to feel lighter, more energetic and physically renewed. This has a positive effect on both your disposition and the absorption of nutrients.
Dietary fibre from whole grains is divided into two groups: insoluble and soluble fibre. Both bind (aka chelate) with the body’s harmful toxins, cholesterol and fat (from which estrogens are made) to remove them from our system via the bowel. Removing excess fat before it enters your bloodstream help keeps estrogen formation low.
This is a positive quality because estrogens can stimulate the growth of abnormal cells, which eventually leads to the growth of cancer cells. Known cancers that are stimulated to grow from estrogen excess are breast, uterine, fallopian tube, vaginal, prostate and ovarian, as well as head and neck cancers.
Given their nutritional value and stabilizing influence on blood sugar, whole grains will automatically reduce your cravings for sweets and fatty foods. This is done in 2 ways:
Firstly, via blood sugar – whole grains aid the blood in maintaining a more even blood sugar level, creating less desire for sweets because their gradual breakdown consistently feeds the blood with complex sugars for fuel. The most important point about food that turns to sugar, is, their rate of absorption where it is lower for grains, as grains break down slowly and gradually.
Second, the gradual and regular feed of sugar as it is released during the digestion of whole grains also helps reduce the actual craving for simple sugar. These factors reduce sugar cravings and make your change of diet less of an effort, being that you will need less willpower to avoid foods that are health supportive.
Whole grains provide a number of trace minerals and vitamins, especially from the B and E groups. The bran covering of whole grains contains many essential B vitamins, such as Niacin, B6, Pantothenic Acid, Riboflavin and Thiamin. These water-soluble vitamins are essencial for immune health, cardiac strength, DNA health, skin and eye health, red blood cell development and gum health. The B vitamins protect us from diseases (such as beriberi and pellagra), lower cholesterol, and prevent depression. They are essential for the building and maintenance of body tissues, for promoting the appetite, and for the formation of certain hormones.
Vitamm E is well known for its valuable antioxidant properties that help neutralise free radicals, which have been shown to produce tissue and cellular damage. Besides this, Vitamin E in whole grains also aids the circulatoty system by helping the blood clot more effectively, helping the body produce red blood cells and easing chronic respiratory problems.