18 Health Benefits of Whole Grains

You’ve heard whole grains are healthy. But why? Here’s the lowdown on why you should be eating them.

Good-for-you grains

Some popular diet books say you should ditch wheat or gluten to shed pounds. But the USDA recommendseating grains daily, and at least half of those should be whole grains. Unless you have celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or another reason to cut back, 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 phytochemicals that will improve your health,” says Lilian Cheung, DSc, RD, a lecturer in nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. So read on to find out what exactly is considered a whole grain, how to find them, and why you should eat them.

What are whole grains, anyway?

Whole grains have all of the parts of the original kernel—bran, germ, and endosperm—in the original proportions, explains Keri Gans, a registered dietician in New York City. In refined grains, the bran and germ are stripped away. (Look for the word “whole”—either whole grain or whole wheat.) Also make sure the grain is one of the first three ingredients listed on the label, advises Wesley Delbridge, RD, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. A “whole grain” stamp from the Whole Wheat Council indicates there’s at least half a serving of whole grain inside. And don’t be fooled by bread that looks healthy because it’s brown. It may just be colored with molasses or brown sugar.

Whole grains can contain a lot of fiber

Fiber is one big reason to eat whole grains. Adults need about 25 to 35 grams of fiber daily, and whole grains contain two types—soluble and insoluble—which are both beneficial to your health. You’ll get 5.8 grams of fiber in two slices of dark rye bread, but only 1.9 grams from the same amount of white bread. And you’ll get 5.5 g of fiber per 1/2 cup uncooked brown rice compared with 2 grams in uncooked white rice (which is not a whole grain), and only 0.7 in a serving of instant rice. Because it digests slowly, fiber also helps you feel fuller longer. And fiber’s health benefits are well known—it can help control blood sugar, lower LDL or “bad” cholesterol, and reduce colon cancer risk. Not all whole grains are high in fiber, though. Focus on oats, barley and bulgur, says Delbridge.

They help digestion

Whole grains have other digestive benefits as well. The fiber content keeps bowel movements regular (studies have shown that people who eat more fiber need fewer laxatives). And they help ward off diverticulosis, the condition in which little pouches form in the colon wall, causing inflammation, constipation, diarrhea, and pain. Fiber is responsible for much of the benefit, but whole grains also contain lactic acid, which promotes “good bacteria” in the large intestine. These organisms aid digestion, promote better nutrition absorption, and may even beef up the body’s immune system.

They can help lower cholesterol

Whole grains not only help prevent your body from absorbing “bad” cholesterol, they may also lower triglycerides, both of which are major contributors to heart disease. In fact, whole grains lower the risk of heart disease overall. One study found that women who ate 2-3 servings of whole grain products daily were 30% less likely to have a heart attack or die from heart disease compared with women who ate less than one serving a week. “Any form of whole grain—including whole wheat, oats, brown rice, barley, corn, quinoa, rye, buckwheat, and millet—will confer benefits for heart health,” says Cheung. “When it comes to oatmeal, steel-cut is better than instant.”

They lower blood pressure

The heart benefits of whole grains don’t stop with cholesterol and triglycerides. They also lower blood pressure, one of the most important risk factors for heart disease. One study found a 19% lower risk of hypertension among men who ate more than 7 servings of whole grain breakfast cereal a week compared with those who ate one or less. A study of women also found a benefit. “Eating whole grains instead of refined grains substantially lowers blood cholesterol…triglycerides, blood pressure, and insulin levels,” says Cheung. “Any of these changes would be expected to reduce the risk of heart disease.”

They can help control weight

People who eat a lot of whole grains are more likely to keep their weight in check and less likely to gain weight over time than those who eat refined grains. In one study, women who consumed the most wheat germ, brown rice, dark bread, popcorn, and other whole grains had a 49% lower risk of “major weight gain” over time compared with women who favored doughnuts and white bread. Over the span of 12 years, middle-aged men and women who ate a diet high in fiber gained 3.35 pounds less than those with who went for refined products.

They redistribute fat

Even if eating whole grains doesn’t actually make you lose weight, studies have shown that it can help you cut down on the amount of body fat you have and lead to a healthier distribution of that fat. Specifically, eating whole grains can leave you with less belly fat—what scientists kindly call “central adiposity”—which increases your risk of diabetes and other health woes.

They make you feel full

One way whole grains may help you control your weight is by making you feel fuller than refined grains such as cookies or white bread. “Whole grains take longer to digest and have a more satiating effect,” says Gans, who is also author of The Small Change Diet. This could also help keep your portions under control. Try rye or protein-packed quinoa to get maximum fullness.

They help regulate blood sugar

One of the main benefits of whole grains is that compared to refined grains, they help keep your blood glucose from spiking, which can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, among other things. Women in one study who ate 2-3 servings of whole grains a day had a 30% lower risk of diabetes than women who ate little or no whole grain products. One analysis found a 32% lower risk of diabetes in people who ate 3 or more servings a day of whole grains versus a 5% risk reduction in those who ate refined grains. Something as simple as swapping one third of a serving of cooked white rice a day (about 2 ounces) for brown rice was associated with a 16% decline in type 2 diabetes risk. “Eating whole grains has been proven to have a protective effect against type 2 diabetes, so they are a smart choice for people with pre-diabetes or high risk of diabetes,” says Cheung.

Some grains deliver calcium

Although whole grains aren’t generally an abundant source of calcium, one grain—a form called teff that is common in Ethiopia—does provide some calcium. One cup of cooked teff has about 123 milligrams of calcium, similar to a half cup of cooked spinach. Also look for calcium in broccoli, milk, yogurt, and cheese and in fortified juice and cereals. Adult men and women should get 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day, according to the National Institutes of Health. Calcium is important for bone health.

Some grains offer vitamin C

As with calcium, whole grains aren’t your first go-to source for vitamin C, but you can get some of your recommended daily allowance from the whole grain known as amaranth. This grain, originating in Mexico and Peru, is also high in other vitamins and minerals including iron and packs a lot of protein, keeping you full longer. As for other sources of vitamin C, load up on cantaloupe, citrus fruits, broccoli, and tomatoes.

They are a good source of B vitamins

Whole grains are rich in the B vitamins thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin, all of which are involved with metabolism. Another B vitamin, folate (folic acid), helps the body form red blood cells and is critical for preventing birth defects in babies. Whole grains can help, but women who are pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant need to take a multivitamin with 400 micrograms of folic acid a day. Bran is one good source of B vitamins, says Delbridge, who holds an adjunct faculty position at Arizona State University.

They deliver essential minerals

Along with vitamins, whole grains are a great source of the minerals our bodies need to stay healthy. These include iron, which transports oxygen throughout the body and helps prevent anemia; magnesium, which builds bones; and selenium that protects against oxidation. They also contain zinc, necessary to keep your immune system in fighting shape.

They may reduce asthma risk

Eating whole grains early in life may ward off asthma and other allergic conditions. One study found that children who were introduced to oats as infants were less likely to have asthma or allergic rhinitis by the time they turned five. A Dutch study reported similar findings among children aged 8-13. An overall healthy diet with more whole grains, fruits and vegetables and less meat, and refined foods may reduce asthmatic wheezing, says Delbridge.

They cut markers of inflammation

Asthma is one inflammatory condition that may be eased by consuming whole grains, but there could be others as well. One study found that whole grain barley, brown rice, or a combination of the two reduced markers of inflammation in the gut. Whole grains may also cut levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation that has been linked not only with heart disease and type 2 diabetes but also problems in pregnancy such as premature birth, preeclampsia and fertility problems.

They may even lower cancer risk

Evidence is emerging that whole grain consumption may lower the risks of certain cancers, such as colorectal, breast, and pancreatic cancer. Although the evidence is mixed at this point, what will definitely lower your risk of cancer, says Delbridge, is eating a diet that includes not only whole grains but lots of fruits and vegetables and not a lot of meat or processed foods.

They may protect your teeth and gums

In a study of almost 35,000 male health professionals aged 40-75, participants who consumed the highest amounts of whole grain were 23% less likely to get gum disease than those who stayed away from whole grains. This was true even after taking into account other factors like smoking, age, and body size. Since gum disease is linked to inflammation and other health conditions like heart disease, this is about more than just a pretty smile.

They may help you live longer

Not only will whole grains help you live better, they may also help you live longer. One study of more than 40,000 postmenopausal women found that women who consumed 4-7 servings a week of whole grains had a 31% lower risk of dying from causes other than cancer or heart disease when compared with women who had few or no whole grains in their diet. And it worked in men, too, with another study finding that men who consumed 1 or more servings a day of whole-grain cereal had a 17% reduced risk of dying than those who never or hardly ever ate it.

They contain Resistant Starch

Carbs can be good for you. The trick is to find the right kind of carb and Resistant Starch is one. It’s a carb that acts more like a fiber. Because it’s not easily digested, it moves slowly through your digestive system burning more fat, stoking the hormones that make you feel full, maintaining your insulin in good working order and keeping blood sugar and cholesterol levels down. Try for 10 to 15 grams daily. Oatmeal, pearl barley and brown rice are all good whole grain sources of Resistant Starch, which is also found in green bananas and other non-grain foods.

The real health benefits of eating organic

Millions of shoppers every year are buying organic food, but does it have any real benefits for your health?

Organic campaigners believe it does. Here are some more facts about the health value of organic food.

Bread and pasta

Bread, pasta and other products made from non-organic flour may contain more pesticides than other foods. ‘Conventionally farmed grains are heavily sprayed with toxic chemicals, and because the grains are very small, they are able to absorb more pesticides,’ says Karen Sullivan.

Wholegrain bread is one area where you see a real difference with organic. ‘Pesticides and other chemicals sit on the husk of the grain, so a refined white non-organic bread will be less tainted than its wholemeal equivalent, although lower in nutrients,’ says Karen.

Is organic better for you?

Tests by the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food (MAFF) last year found 44 per cent of all bread samples contained pesticide residues. One herbicide called glyphosate is

linked with the cancer Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and was found in 7 per cent of the samples.

But the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) says that 70 per cent of food samples analysed by MAFF in 1997 were residue free and 29 per cent contained levels below the maximum residue level. ‘If pesticides are present at all in non-organically produced food, the levels are very low and do not present a risk to human health,’ says a spokesman.

Milk and dairy products

The biggest concern with non-organic milk is the chemicals that the cow could pass on through its feed. One of these is the pesticide lindane, which has been linked to breast cancer. Lindane is part of a group of chemicals called organochlorines, which includes a banned chemical called DDT. DDT has been outlawed in Britain but 100 tonnes of lindane are still used on our fields every year.

Four international studies carried out between 1984 and 1994 found that women with breast cancer had a higher rate of chemicals including lindane in their bodies compared to women without cancer. Scientists think these chemicals

are capable of copying the effects of oestrogen in the body, which disrupts your normal hormone patterns. Lindane has also been linked to lower sperm counts in men.

Is organic better for you?

Karen Sullivan says that organic milk will contain virtually no pesticides. ‘Organically raised cows graze on organic pastures that have not been treated with any pesticides or fertilisers. This means fewer, if any, residues exist in their milk,’ she says.

Wine and beer

Going organic does not just relate to the food you eat, but also what you drink. Conventionally grown grapes and grain used in wine and beer are sprayed with up to 15 different pesticides and the soil is often chemically fertilised.

Tests on beer in 1999 found 35 per cent contained pesticide residues above their recommended limits. A recent report by Health Which? magazine raised concerns about the unknown impact of the ‘cocktail’ effect of these pesticide residues on your health.

Grapes for wine are heavily sprayed with sulphur dioxide, a preservative, which can have disastrous affects on your health. The symptoms of sulphur dioxide poisoning include nausea, blurred vision and the shakes – exactly the same symptoms as a hangover.

Is organic better for you?

Organic wine is produced without chemical fertilisers and no genetically modified hops can be used to brew organic beer. The Health Which? report also discovered that organic red wine was superior in taste to many non-organic reds. Drinking organic wine could also affect your performance at work – annecdotal evidence shows organic alcoholic drinks are less likely to produce hangovers.

Organic Grain is available to purchase at SFMart.com

This article is originally posted on Dailymail UK

Fried rice with tuna and vegetables

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Fried rice with tuna and vegetables

Ingredients

One small tuna fish, rice bran base, vegetable according to taste, 1 tablespoon oyster sauce

1.Remove the oil from the tuna by supporting it. Pressing it with a spoon makes it easier to remove oil.

2.You can use vegetables at home. I used onions, carrots, paprika, and green onions.

3.Put vegetables and fry them together.

4.Please cook some vegetables, please put rice.

5.Put the fat tuna in well-mixed rice and vegetables Please fry again.

6.You can lightly sip the salt and have oyster sauce.

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