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The Health Benefits of Eating Whole Grain Foods

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Health studies have proven that people who have a diet rich in whole grains have a lower risk of diabetes, a reduced risk of heart disease and cancer. The naturally healthy parts of whole wheat are a lot of terms we don't hear every day: antioxidants (useful chemicals against aging), lignans (a chemical found in the cell walls of plants that has been associated with reduced risks of breast cancer among others), phenolic acids (plant metabolites which have been found to be natural and powerful antioxidants), phytoestrogens (found to be helpful in reducing risks of cancer, osteoporosis and cardiovascular problems). The scientific jargon may be confusing and slightly overwhelming, but the bottom line is clear: we need more whole grains in our diet.

What We Require

We all know that natural means better; and you can find a lot of brands at the supermarket that claim to be natural, but those claims are not always accurate. Many food manufacturers add all kinds of chemicals to extend the shelf life of their product. These tend to destroy the healthy properties of whole grain food. This is sad, since wheat is perhaps the most important component of our daily diet. Even worse, we tend to refine it to the point where all its nutritious properties get completely removed. But it is important to get whole wheat into your diet. Because whole wheat bread takes longer to digest due to the fiber, we feel fuller faster and we eat fewer calories. Our sugar levels do not spike because carbs get digested slower.

Wheat VS Whole Grain

Some people wonder about how whole grain and whole wheat are actually defined. Whole wheat is whole grain. Whole wheat has the essential components still included, specifically, the bran, the endosperm and the germ.

If you were to bake bread with whole wheat flour you might find the results a bit course and heavy. Many people don't like whole wheat bread for those reasons. We suggest you buy white whole wheat flour. It's made from a different kind of wheat, but with all the ingredients of whole grain. This makes for lighter and fluffier wheat bread. You could also mix in a little white refined flour (about 1/5th) with the regular whole wheat flour to make it lighter and still get some healthy bread.

Whatever your choice, you can still bake all kinds of delicious products with whole wheat flour, from muffins to cookies to whole wheat tortillas. Giving the kids their daily ration of fiber through whole wheat will not only ensure an optimal digestion but also teaches them healthy eating habits that they will carry on as adults.

Putting it Together

Don't forget to combine whole wheat products with the other healthy foods. While whole grains are important, they alone doesn't make a well rounded diet. Low fat milk products, lean cut meats, beans, vegetables and fruits all contribute to form a healthy, nutritious diet.

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