Choosing to eat whole grains rather than refined, processed grains seems like an obvious choice if you’re trying to eat a more healthy diet. Research has continued to show that eating whole grains can lead to a long list of health benefits including better weight management and reduced risk of stroke, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
In the most comprehensive study to date of its kind, researchers have studied the effect of exchanging refined grain products in the diet – such as white bread and pasta – with wholegrain varieties. The study showed that when overweight adults exchange refined grain products with whole grains, they eat less, they lose weight and the amount of inflammation in their bodies decreases.
But, exactly what is it about whole grains that make them better for us? Well – more than you might think! Here’s a quick rundown of all the essential nutrition found in whole grains.
Dietary ﬁbre can help prevent heart disease, diabetes, weight gain and some cancers, and can also improve digestive health. Fibre comes only from plant foods like fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains.
Iron helps our bodies make red blood cells and myoglobin (cells for muscles), both of which help carry and store oxygen. Iron also plays a role in many other routine bodily functions.
It might surprise you to learn that whole grains are a rich source of protein, which is great news for those of us who prefer to eat a plant-based diet.
B vitamins help with metabolism and help maintain healthy skin, hair, and muscles. They also help our bodies make red blood cells, promote healthy immune and nervous system function, and have even been linked to helping ward off depression and anxiety.
Phosphorus is an essential mineral, present in every cell in your body. Its main function is the formation of bones and teeth, but it’s also crucial for cell repair, growth, and maintenance; for heartbeat regularity; and nerve conduction.
Zinc can help out immune systems ﬁght oﬀ bacteria and viruses, and help our wounds to heal faster. It also helps our bodies make proteins and DNA.
An essential mineral, magnesium is required for hundreds of biochemical reactions, including converting food into energy, body temperature regulation and maintaining a strong immune system. Magnesium also helps us absorb calcium, for healthy bones and teeth.
Copper helps us absorb iron, and also helps regulate blood pressure and heart rate. Copper is also needed for the production of melanin, which colors our hair and skin.
The mineral manganese activates many important enzymes in the body that are essential in the metabolism of carbohydrates, amino acids, and cholesterol. Manganese is also essential to the formation of healthy cartilage and bone.
Selenium is a trace mineral that is essential to helping prevent cellular damage from free radicals, regulating thyroid function, and supporting a healthy immune system.