One of the best ways to get enough fibre in your diet is to start eating more whole grain (also known as wholemeal and wholewheat) products. Apart from being rich in fibre these products also have a number of additional health benefits. In this article I will be discussing why whole grain products are good for you and list four of the top benefits.
So what is so great about whole grain? Well it is all down to the production process. Natural wheat is packed with nutrients, containing high levels of manganese, dietary fibre, tryptophan and magnesium to name just a few. However, as the wheat is refined (modified during production) parts of it are removed. In the case of white flour this often means that up to 40% of the wheat is removed including the nutrient rich bran and germ. White flour is used to make many of the foods that we eat every day including bread, cereal, pasta and rice, meaning that they have a very low nutritional value. By choosing whole grain versions of these products you will be getting much more nutritional value from them and realising greater health benefits for your body which include:
1) EXTRA FIBRE:- Wheat is naturally rich in dietary fibre but as I have already discussed white flour generally has the bran and germ removed. These are the two most fibre rich parts of the wheat and so by consuming whole grain products you can add a significant amount of fibre to your diet. Fibre has a number of benefits which include reduced constipation, better absorption of the nutrients from your food, better blood sugar control and reduced risk of cancer and other diseases.
2) EXTRA NUTRIENTS:- Wheat is also naturally full of nutrients. However, most of these nutrients are removed in the production of white flour. By going whole grain you can ensure that you are not missing out on these essential nutrients. This has countless health benefits but most importantly the various nutrients ensure that all areas of your body are functioning properly.
3) EXTRA B VITAMINS:- Wheat contains lots of B vitamins and guess what? By consuming whole grain products you can get these extra B vitamins too. There are eight B vitamins in total which include:
– Vitamin B1 (Thiamine).
– Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin).
– Vitamin B3 (Niacin).
– Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid).
– Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine).
– Vitamin B7 (Biotin).
– Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid).
– Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin).
B vitamins assist in the breakdown of carbohydrates, fats and proteins and also help keep your skin, hair and eyes healthy. Because of this many doctors and nutritionists agree that adequate consumption of B vitamins is essential for good overall health.
4) LESS CHEMICALS:- Not only do whole grain products have a high nutritional value but they also contain less chemicals. Refined flour is not naturally white – it is chemically bleached to look this way. Now whilst these chemicals have been passed as safe I think it’s generally better to not put chemical bleach into your body and by consuming whole grain products you can do just that.
So there you have it. Four convincing reasons to switch over to whole grain products if you have not done so already. Whilst whole grain products are still refined and not as healthy as completely natural foods, they are much healthier than non-whole grain alternatives. Where possible I highly recommend that you choose the whole grain option. In doing so you will be putting more of the good stuff (fibre, nutrients and vitamins) into your body than the refined white flour versions will ever provide.
In my next post I will be discussing the whole grain food substitutes that I think everyone should be making. Until then I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post. Have you made the switch to whole grain? Do you know of any further health benefits associated with whole grain products? If so please leave me a comment.
B Vitamin Information (How Stuff Works)
Magnesium Information (Eat Well)
Manganese Information (Eat Well)
Tryptophan Information (WHFoods)
whole grain Health Benefits (whole grain Health)
Whole Wheat Information (WHFoods)
Ugly Truths about White Flour (Women’s Fitness)