Whole grain cereals have been a quintessential part of a well-balanced diet for ages. With the advent of several modern diets, such as paleo, keto diet, that claims eating grains is bad for your overall health. While a high intake of refined grains is associated with the risk of health issues like obesity, inflammation and other chronic diseases, whereas the wellness incentives of whole grains are entirely a different deal. Whole grain is a complete grain laden with all vital nutrients and beneficial plant compounds that confer you with umpteen health benefits. In addition, eating whole-grain cereal is linked with several wellness incentives, including lowers the risk of diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.
What Are Whole Grains?
A whole-grain consists of all edible parts of the grain encompassing the bran, germ and endosperm. The whole grain should be used intact and all elements should be present in original proportions. Grains are the seeds of plants called cereals, some of the most common types include corn, rice and wheat. While there are seeds of non-grass plants or pseudo-cereals that are also considered as whole grains including buckwheat, quinoa and amaranth.
Whole-grain kernels comprise of three parts:
Bran - the outer hard shell layer that contains fibre, vital minerals and antioxidants.
Endosperm - the middle layer of the grain that is made up of carbohydrates.
Germ – the inner layer encompassing vital vitamins, minerals, protein and a host of plant compounds.
Generally, grains are rolled, crushed or cracked to obtain the processed final product. However, as long as all the three parts are present intact in their original proportion, they are categorised as whole grains.
Refined grains the germ and bran layer is stripped away during processing and contain only the endosperm. Nowadays refined cereals are fortified and nourished with essential nutrients, even though they are not as wholesome as whole grain cereals.
Some of the most common types of whole grains include:
Any food products made from these cereals are considered a whole grain, which includes certain types of bread, pasta and breakfast cereals. Always remember when you buy processed whole-grains products to read the nutrition label and ensure that they are made completely out of whole grains but not a blend of whole and refined grains. Furthermore, check on the sugar content, particularly when buying breakfast cereals that are mostly laden with added sugar.
Whole Grain Cereals Nutrition
Whole grains come with an extremely dense nutrient profile that confers you with a myriad of health benefits. Some of the main nutrients present in whole grains include:
The bran layer encompasses an abundant source of dietary fibre and packed with B vitamins such as niacin, thiamine and folate. It also contains noteworthy amounts of minerals including zinc, iron, magnesium and manganese. Whole grain abounds with a good source of protein and essential amino acids that promote normal growth and development. Bestowed with vast reserves of antioxidant compounds such as lignans, ferulic acid, phytic acid and sulphur compounds that play a key role in combatting oxidative damage and lowers the risk of chronic diseases. Aside from these, it also imbued with certain plant compounds such as stanols and sterols that enhance overall health and well-being.
Potential Health Benefits Of Whole Grain Cereals
Augments Heart Health
Whole grain cereals can be added as part of a heart-healthy diet that may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. Being an intrinsically rich source of dietary fibre and B vitamins help to increase good HDL levels and reduce bad LDL cholesterol levels, this prevents plaque deposits in the blood vessels, improving cardiac muscle function and heart health. Moreover, the wealth of plant compounds and antioxidants in whole grains lower your risk of stroke.
Promotes Weight Loss
If you are working hard to lose those stubborn fats, then start including whole grains cereals in your diet. Laden with an impressive amount of fibre and protein promote to delay digestion, curbs unwanted hunger pangs, keep you satiated, reduce the overall calorie intake and helps in losing weight. Apart from this, you can add variety to your meal plan by choosing from a spectrum of cereals.
Eating whole grain in the place of refined grain is the ideal way for diabetics to keep their blood sugar under control. The richness of dietary fibre in whole grains delays gastric emptying time, help to lose weight and lowers the risk of diabetes. While endowed with vital mineral magnesium improve insulin sensitivity that helps to metabolize carbohydrates and lower fasting blood sugar levels.
Whole grain cereals endowed with an abundance of dietary fibre aids in the smooth functioning of the digestive system. High fibre diet adds bulk to the stool, regularise bowel movements and treats constipation. Besides this, some types of fibres are an excellent source of prebiotics that promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut and enhances overall digestive health.
The host of plant compounds and antioxidants in whole grains are highly beneficial as it lowers the risk of certain cancer. Whole grains exhibits potent anticancer properties that avert the formation of tumour cells and prevent colorectal cancer. In addition, the goodness of phytic acid, phenolic acids and saponins in whole grain cereals slow the progression of cancer.
Whole grain cereals are healthy for most people, however, for people with celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome is intolerant to gluten that may cause fatigue, indigestion and joint pain. Hence for people with gluten intolerance, it is best to avoid whole-grain cereal in the diet and go for gluten-free cereals.