What are whole grains, and what makes them so special? It’s pretty simple: during the milling process, the bran and germ of the grains are kept intact, but removed in refined grains.
What are the benefits of removing the bran and germ? Great shelf life for the manufacturer and softer texture in baking. Unfortunately you lose a lot when you lose the bran and germ, because they contain higher amounts of vitamins, minerals, fiber, essential fatty acids, antioxidants, and phytochemicals.
Fiber found in whole grains help you feel fuller for longer periods of time, which in turn helps you maintain a healthy diet and stops you from over-eating. Refined or enriched grains digest much quicker leading to fat gain, energy crashes and overeating (due to less satiety). On the other hand, whole wheat digests much slower. Slow digestion yields slow release of energy, providing longer-lasting energy and increased satiety.
Studies show that when athletes eat whole-grain carbs before exercise, they have greater endurance, burn more fat during exercise and at rest, and they eat fewer calories during the day.
Another added benefit of whole grains, is that they aid in reducing the risk of different diseases and cancers. Whole grains have also been showed to decrease the amount of bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase the amount of good cholesterol (HDL). Fiber which is found in high volumes in whole grains, helps regulate your gastrointestinal system. If that wasn’t enough, fiber also help maintain healthy levels of blood sugar in your system which prevent the onset of type two diabetes.
Now that we know the benefits of whole wheat, that doesn’t mean that we can eat whole wheat bread and pasta all day long! Whole wheat should be mixed with plenty of vegetables and protein in your diet. The recommended amount is around 3 ounces. A one-ounce serving can be in the form of a slice of bread; a half cup of cooked cereal, rice, or pasta; or about 1 cup of dry cereal.
When purchasing whole wheat make sure to read the ingredients and not simply fall for the advertising. The ingredients must specify: “whole grain” or “100% whole wheat”.
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