• Saturday, April 13, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Nutritional benefits of whole wheat meal (Part two)

Let it be noted that there are many kinds of whole grains, including oat meal, popcorn, millet, quinoa and brown rice. Others are whole rye, wild rice, wheat berry, bulgur, buckwheat, freekeh, barley and sorghum. Products made from these foods are also considered whole grain foods. These include bread, pasta, some breakfast cereals and of course, whole wheat meal.

People eating whole wheat meal should therefore, be rest assured that are gaining many nutrients because whole grains contain all three parts of the grain and therefore, highly nutritious. For instance, they’re high in nutrients and fibre, obtained from the bran. They are particularly high in B vitamins, including niacin, thiamin and folate. They also contain a good amount of minerals, such as zinc, iron, magnesium.

Whole grains provide several grams of protein per serving. Also, several compounds in whole grains act as antioxidants. These include phytic acid, lignin and sulfur compounds.  Similarly, many types of plant compounds that play a role in preventing diseases are found in whole grains. These include lignans, stanols and sterols.

In summary, whole grains have higher phyto-nutrient content and antioxidant activity than refined grains which have been stripped of their bran and germ leaving only the endosperm.  For instance, refined wheat flour loses 83percent of total phenolic acids, 79 percent of total flavonoids, 93 percent of ferulic acid, 78 percent of total zeaxanthin, 51 percent of total lutein, and 42 percent of total β-cryptoxanthin compared with whole wheat flour.

As a result of this, Kerri-Ann Jennings has advised that people purchasing processed whole grain products, should make sure that they read the ingredients list, to give the assurance that they are made entirely from whole grains, not a mixture of whole and refined grains. They should also keep an eye on the sugar content, especially in the case of breakfast cereals, which often contain large amounts of added sugar.

They lower your risk of heart disease. One of the biggest health benefits of whole grains is that they lower your risk of heart disease, which is the leading cause of death worldwide.  A 2016 review analysed the results of 10 studies and found that three one-ounce servings of whole grains daily may lower the risk of heart disease by 22 percent.

Another recent Spanish study looked at the types and amounts of grains and other carbs eaten by 17,424 adults and followed them for over 10 years.

Those who ate the highest proportion of whole grains in relation to their total carbohydrate intake had a 47 percent lower risk of heart disease. While most studies lump together all types of whole grains and make it hard to tease apart the benefits of individual foods, whole grain breads and cereals, as well as added bran, have been specifically linked to a lower risk of heart disease.

They reduce your risk of obesity. Eating fibre-rich foods can help fill you up and prevent overeating. This is one reason high-fibre diets are recommended for weight loss. According to Olu Malomo, a professor of biotechnology, Kings University, Odeomu, Osun State, Nigeria some popular diet books say you should ditch wheat or gluten to shed pounds. But this is wrong as the USDA recommends eating grains daily, and at least half of those should be whole grains. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is the department of the United States government that manages various programs related to food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development and nutrition.

Whole grains and products made from them are more filling than refined grains, and a lot of research suggests that they may lower your risk of obesity. In fact, eating three servings of whole grains daily was linked to lower BMIs and less belly fat in a review of 15 studies including almost 120,000 people. BMI means Body Mass Index. Another study that reviewed research from 1965 to 2010 found that whole grain cereal and cereal with added bran were linked to a modestly lower risk of obesity.

 They lower your risk of type 2 diabetesEating whole grains in place of refined grains may lower your risk of type- 2 diabetes. A review of 16 studies concluded that replacing refined grains with whole grains and eating at least two servings of whole grains daily could lower the risk of diabetes. In part, this is because fibre-rich whole grains can also help with weight control and prevent obesity, a risk factor for diabetes.

 They support healthy digestion. The fibre in whole grains can support healthy digestion in a couple of ways. First, fibre helps give bulk to stools and prevents constipation. Second, some types of fibre in grains act as prebiotics. This means they help feed the healthy, good bacteria in the gut, which are important for digestive health.

 They reduce chronic inflammation. Inflammation is at the root of many chronic diseases. Fortunately, some evidence suggests whole grains can help tame inflammation. In one study, women who ate the most whole grains were least likely to die from inflammation-related chronic diseases. Also, in a recent study, people with unhealthy diets replaced refined wheat products with whole wheat products and saw a reduction in inflammatory markers.

 They can reduce the risk of cancer. Research on whole grains and cancer risk has provided mixed results, although they do show promise. A 2016 review of 20 studies on the topic reported that six of the studies showed a reduced risk of cancer, while 14 studies showed no link.  Current research suggests that whole grains’ strongest anti-cancer benefits are against colorectal cancer, one of the most common types of cancer in men and women.

Additionally, some health benefits linked to fibre may help lower the risk of cancer. These include its role as an antioxidant and a prebiotic. Lastly, other components of whole grains, including phytic acid, phenolic acids and saponins, may also slow the development of cancer. They’re linked to a reduced risk of premature death.

When you lower your risk of chronic disease, you often lower your risk of dying prematurely. The current hoopla for people who have celiac disease or gluten intolerance is being disputed. According to David Anderson and Jessica Orwig writing for the Independent on November 28, 2017 “your gluten sensitivity may not be caused by gluten. A recent study shows that the real culprit could be fructan,  a type of carbohydrate.”

In the wise words of Lilian Cheung, DSc, Resident Dietitian, and a renowned lecturer in nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health:  “You don’t want to miss out on the health benefits of whole grains. You’re getting fiber, a healthy plant-based protein, vitamins, minerals, and a variety of phyto-chemicals that will improve your health “.

Now that we have separated the wheat from the chaff, go for whole wheat meals.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.
Exit mobile version