Whole grains are a nourishing food that offer a number of necessary nutrients.
There are plenty of good reasons to eat more whole grains. Here are just a few:
Health Benefits of Whole Grains
1. Whole grains help with healthy weight loss.
Research shows that those who include more whole grains in their diets are better able to lose weight and keep it off.
2. Whole grains promote the growth of good bacteria in the gut.
Whole grains feed the good bacteria in your gut and naturally promote proper balance of gut bacteria.
3. Whole grains can help prevent and reverse diabetes.
Studies have linked whole grain intake to lower fasting blood sugar levels and improved insulin sensitivity.
4. Whole grains energize you.
The complex carbohydrates and other beneficial nutrients in whole grains provide the body with healthy energy.
5. Whole grains are nourishing.
Whole grains are a great source of protein, dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals.
A Good Thing Gone Bad
The problem is that many of the grain products found in grocery stores are made from refined grains. Even if the label says “Made from Whole Grains”, some of the ingredients may still be refined grains.
To avoid refined grains, be sure to read the ingredient label. Look for the word “whole” in the list of ingredients. Be sure to buy grain products that lists only “whole-grain ________”.
Some people ask whether flour is a whole food or a refined food. The answer is: it depends.
Whole-grain flour is a whole food. The grain has been ground up, but nothing has been removed. It still has the fiber and the nutrients of the whole grains.
But refined flour, on the other hand, is processed and should be avoided.
How do you tell the different between whole-grain flour and refined flour? The same way you tell the different between whole grains and refined grains. Check for the word “whole”. For example, if the ingredients say “wheat flour”, it is probably refined. If it says”whole wheat flour”, then it is a whole food.
Some grains contain gluten, a protein that can cause health problems for some people. Gluten-free grains include corn, millet, rice, and sorghum.
Amaranth, buckwheat, and quinoa are technically not grains, but rather seeds of herbs (grains are the seeds of grasses). They can be used just like grains are used and they are also gluten-free.
How to Store Whole Grains
Because whole grains (and flours made from whole grains) contain healthy, natural fats which can go rancid, whole grains should be kept in the refrigerator or freezer in an airtight container
Is It Okay to Eat Raw Grains?
A lot of diets and health trends recommend/include raw grains. But are raw grains safe and healthful to eat? The answer may surprise you. Find out more in this post that I wrote about raw grains.
Delicious Recipes that Use Whole Grains
For more help eating a whole-food diet, join my online weight loss program.