You’ve probably heard over and over that whole grains are good for you, but have you ever wondered why? Whole grains are an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Eating just one serving of whole grain a day, like a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, can even benefit your health! Unfortunately, the average American eats less than one serving per day, and over 40% never even eat whole grains. But, if you don’t include whole grains in your diet, you are seriously depriving your body of some great health benefits.
What are whole grains?
According to the Whole Grains Council “whole grains contain all the essential parts and naturally-occurring nutrients of the entire grain seed in their original proportions.” This means you shouldn’t be reaching for the white rice or white bread if you want to start eating whole grains. Instead, opt for whole grains like:
• Brown rice
Why should I eat more whole grains?
There are so many benefits that come from eating whole grains every day. Here are just a few reasons, as stated by the Whole Grains Council, why you should be including whole grains in your daily diet.
1. Whole grains can help you maintain your weight. When you eat high-fiber foods, like whole grains, it provides you with a feeling of fulness and you’ll consume fewer calories than refined grains. Incorporating whole grains into your diet is as easy eating a whole grain bagel for breakfast, a whole grain sandwich for lunch or whole grain pasta for dinner.
2. Whole grains aid in digestion. Since whole grains contain high-fiber, they help to keep things moving through your system. While fiber is responsible for much of these benefits, whole grains also contain lactic acid, which supports “good bacteria” in the large intestine. This bacteria helps with vitamin absorption and can even help strengthen your body’s immune system.
3. Whole grains lower cholesterol. The soluble fiber in whole grains can block your body from absorbing “bad” cholesterol, and they can even lower triglycerides (fat in your blood), which both are major contributors to heart disease
4. Whole grains lower and maintain blood pressure. Whole grains can reduce your chance of developing hypertension, and can even lower your blood pressure too. If you already suffer from high blood pressure, eating more whole grains can help you manage your blood pressure better.
5. Whole grains can help you regulate blood sugar. One of the main benefits of whole grains is that they can prevent your blood glucose from spiking, as they slow the absorption of glucose in the blood. Whole grains can directly reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, and they are an excellent option for people already diagnosed with diabetes.
Eating a variety of whole grains will ensure that you receive the health-promoting nutrients that refined grains can’t provide you with.