Whole grains contain all three layers of the grain.
Wholegrain cereals are a rich source of many essential vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. The typical cereal food is:A host of protective chemicals
Wholegrain cereals contain many different phytochemicals that have been linked to significant health benefits. These phytochemicals include:Refined cereals do not have the same benefits
When grains are refined (for example, to produce white flour), the bran and germ layers are generally removed, leaving only the endosperm. This process can cause 66 per cent loss of fibre, 92 per cent loss of selenium, 62 per cent loss of folate and up to 99.8 per cent of phytochemicals from the grains.
Some fibre, vitamins and minerals may be added back into refined cereal products (such as white bread), which compensates for losses, but it is impossible to add the mix of phytochemicals that is lost in the processing.
Sometimes, the fibre that is added back is from vegetable fibre. Some breads contain ‘Hi-maize’, which is a resistant starch from corn. It is unknown whether these breads have similar beneficial properties to breads high in cereal fibres. For example, ‘Hi-maize’ does not have the same laxative effect as wheat fibre.
Refined cereals generally have a higher GI than their wholegrain counterparts. This means that eating refined cereals causes a sharp rise in blood sugars, demanding a strong response from the pancreas (not good!).
Whole grains help protect you from heart disease
Cereal fibre or wholegrains offer protection against heart disease. A study of postmenopausal women found that eating at least one serve of wholegrains daily reduced the risk of heart and blood vessel disease by almost 30 per cent.
Heart disease is often caused by high blood cholesterol levels. Regularly eating cereals that are rich in soluble fibre, such as oats and psyllium, has been found to significantly reduce the amount of cholesterol in the bloodstream.
Diabetes type 2
A study by Harvard researchers in 2000 showed that eating one serve of wholegrain cereal every day can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by as much as 34 per cent. Cereal fibre is shown to be particularly protective against this condition. People with diabetes also benefit from eating wholegrain cereals.
Wholegrains and weight management
People who are obese tend to have energy-dense diets. High fibre foods, such as wholegrain breads and cereals, can be an effective part of any weight loss program. They take longer to digest and create a feeling of fullness, which discourages overeating. Whole grains are also naturally low in saturated fat and contain beneficial polyunsaturated fatty acids.
High fibre foods, such as wholegrain cereal products, increase movement of food through the digestive tract. The result is increased stool bulk, softer and larger stools and more frequent bowel action. This provides a good environment for beneficial bacteria, while decreasing levels of destructive bacteria and the build-up of carcinogenic compounds. Wheat fibre can bind certain toxins and remove them from the large bowel.
A high fibre diet, especially one high in insoluble fibre, has been associated with decreased risk of developing colon cancer and diverticular disease (a condition where ‘pouches’ form in the wall of the intestine).
Whole grains can reduce the risk of some cancers, including colon, stomach and other digestive tract cancers, gallbladder, bladder, kidney and breast cancer. A consistent protective effect has been observed when whole grains are eaten three to four times a week. A Norwegian study found that people who ate the highest amount of whole grains reduced their risk of death from cancer and heart disease by almost 25 per cent. A study by the Mayo Clinic in 2001 found that those who ate the highest amount of cereal fibre were less likely to develop cancer at the juncture between the oesophagus and the stomach.
Wholegrain cereals recommended for health
Wholegrain cereals of various kinds are recommended as part of a healthy diet. Nutrition experts recommend that you eat at least 4–5 cereal serves daily. At least half of these serves should be whole grain.
( from Better Health Channel )
The Health Benefits of Whole Grains
Whole grains play an essential role in promoting your overall good health. Aside from fiber, whole grains can also provide a number of essential vitamins and nutrients, including folate, iron, magnesium, selenium, thiamin and riboflavin. Eating the recommended three servings of whole grains each day can also help reduce chances of developing several serious diseases, such as heart disease, and might help with maintaining a healthy weight.
Listed below are many of the nutritional benefits whole grains can provide:
1.Lowers the risk of developing heart disease.
Diets that are low in saturated fat and cholesterol and rich in whole grain foods, like Quaker oatmeal, may reduce the risk of heart disease. Eat at least 3 servings of whole grains daily.
2. Promotes satiety, which is important for weight management.
Since whole grains are high in complex carbohydrates and fiber, they promote a feeling of fullness. Filling up on nutritious foods like whole grains is a smart thing to do when you're trying to watch your weight.
3. Whole Grains and Type 2 Diabetes.
Researchers continue to evaluate the effect of diets rich in whole grain foods and their effects on risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
4. Helps keep you regular.
Whole grain foods can help keep you regular and promote a healthy digestive system. The fiber in whole grains help increase stool weight and decreases the amount of time it takes for it to pass through your intestines. This helps promote regularity.
5. Reduces your risk of developing several types of cancer.
The substances in whole grains that help protect against heart disease may also help prevent certain kinds of cancer, including cancers of the colon, stomach, and prostate. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, the outer layer of whole grains contains high amounts of cancer-fighting phytochemicals, including lignans and phenols.
6. Whole grains and blood pressure.
The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is a dietary pattern recommended by health professionals to help promote healthy blood pressure. The diet includes rich amounts of fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, and plenty of whole grains. Research shows that whole grains in the DASH diet make important contributions to the overall nutrient intake, as well as, specific nutrients associated with positive effects on blood pressure.( from Quaker Oat )