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How to add whole grains to your diet and get benefits from them

As part of a whole foods nutrition plan, I recommend choosing whole grains over refined ones.

Whole grains are a “complete package” of health benefits.

A review of studies from 1980 to 2016, find some evidence for dietary whole grains intake to be beneficial in the prevention of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and colorectal, pancreatic, and gastric cancers.
The potential benefits of these findings suggest that the consumption of 2 to 3 servings per day (~45 g) of whole grains may be a justifiable public health goal.

The diet today mainly comprises refined grains as white flour, white rice, white bread are everywhere. Refined grains are stripped from valuable nutrients during the refining process.

A whole-grain kernel contains the endosperm, germ, and bran.

The refining process usually involves the mechanical removal of bran and germ. This consequently results in highly processed grains much lower in nutritional value since the process removes B vitamins, vitamin E, and all the fibre).

After that, the flour is fortified, and some nutrients are back but not all of them such as phytochemicals that cannot be replaced.

The whole grain kernel contains 3 parts: the bran, germ, and endosperm. Each section houses health-promoting nutrients.

  • The bran (the outer layer) is rich in fibre, B vitamins, iron, copper, zinc, magnesium, antioxidants, and phytochemicals (components in plants that highly research for their health benefits)
  • The germ (the core of the seed) is rich in healthy fats, vitamin E, B vitamins, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. 
  • The endosperm (the interior layer) contains carbohydrates, protein, and small amounts of B vitamins and minerals.

Health benefits of fibre are:

  • Fibre slows the breakdown of starch into glucose, and this helps to maintain the blood sugar levels.
  • Fibre plays a significant role in digestive health.
  • Helps to keep the digestive tract flowing.
  • Helps to lower cholesterol.

In addition, others unprocessed whole grains include Amaranth, Kamut, Spelt, Barley, Millet, Teff, Brown-Rice, Quinoa, Buckwheat, Rye, Bulgur, Oats, Wild Rice, Corn.


Gluten

Wheat whole grain and wheat, barley, rye, and spelt contain naturally gluten, it is a protein that acts as a binder, holding food together and in contrast adding flexibility.

It can cause side effects in certain people, such as those with celiac disease, they cannot eat gluten.

Some other people are sensitive to gluten, they may suffer from side effects after eating gluten and they can check for sensitivity by process of exclusion from their daily menu (elimination diet).
I would not recommend doing an elimination diet unless you replace the grains with other healthy sources of carbohydrates.


Sources

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Pazit Azoulay

Pazit Azoulay is a certified naturopath based in London, member of the following regulatory bodies: NNA, CNHC and GNC.
Paz By Nature ltd website is a health & wellness blog aimed to provide inspiration, healthy recipes and information about natural remedies.

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