Right across the globe, the variety of grain products available in the market is simply mind-boggling. World Health Organisation stresses the nutritional importance of grains as a foundation for a good and wholesome diet. This miracle food can be easily stored and transported without getting damaged and spoilt. Grains contain the majority of basic nutrients essential for survival and good health, i.e., water carbohydrates, fats, protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and are thus, humbly known as the ‘Cinderella of Nutrition.’
About seventy percent of the energy content of an Indian diet is derived from grains since they are an important source of fiber, B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and folate), and minerals (iron, magnesium, and selenium). More often than not, they are looked down upon as a necessary evil. The kinds of grains that are available today are wheat, corn, barley, rice, rye, buckwheat, amaranth, sorghum, and quinoa.
For a healthy Heart – Two to four servings of whole grains a day reduce the risk of heart disease by as much as forty percent and also protects from hypertension. Not known to many, it provides a similar effect as to the impact of ‘statin’ drugs. Ten gms of cereal fiber in the diet dramatically reduces the risk of coronary heart diseases. Consuming more oats and rye flour is always beneficial. Fiber is plentiful in unrefined grains, fruits, and vegetables.
Tackle Cancer – Intake of whole grains provides significant protection from cancer especially collateral, gastric, ovarian, prostate, breast, and uterine cancer.
Control Diabetes – By virtue of the fact that whole grains are packed with fiber, it slows digestion and the absorption of carbohydrates. This may not raise our blood sugar as quickly as in the case of refined grains. Since whole grains help to feel fuller for a longer time, they inherently assist in managing weight. For people with Type 2 diabetes, whole grains make a better choice as compared to refined carbohydrates since they are a rich source of vitamins and minerals.
Few Myths About Eating Whole Grains
It is universally felt that eating grains lead to inflammation in the body. On the contrary, it is vice versa. Consuming a cup of whole grains daily for a month increases the good bacteria in our gut thereby decreasing inflammation and improving gut health.
As widely believed, eating grains does not lead to obesity. Increased weight is attributable to unhealthy food habits wherein, even the pattern of lifestyle matters. If a diet contains the right amount of whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, and good oils in the right proportion, one need not worry about weight gain.
Eliminating grains from the diet will cause more harm to our health. Fruits and vegetables though healthy, are not nutrient-dense as in the case of whole grains as these provide energy along with satiety to the body.