Whole grains: Are they good or bad for you?
Every day you hear about a new diet trend. No carbs diets have been pushed for years. Today I'm going to tell you why whole grains are good for you and should be part of your diet.
Whole grains have always been part of a balanced diet. The problem came when we started processing grains in the late 19th century. To assure that the grains would have a longer shelf life the bran and germ was stripped away. While this process made our bread lighter and fluffier -- we paid a big price health wise.
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By processing grains we lost all of the fiber, at least half of the vitamin B and 90% of the vitamin E. According to Harvard's new Healthy Eating Plate -- a quarter of the plate is reserved for grains. But not any grains. This is where the confusion comes from. For grains to be healthy they need to be whole grains.
What can whole grains do for you? Lower your bad LDL cholesterol, your triglycerides and your insulin levels. This all helps to improve your cardiovascular health reducing your chance of heart attack. They also reduce your risks of type 2 diabetes. A recent study of 160,000 women followed their dietary habits for 18 years. Those who ate two or three servings of whole grains per day were 30% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Even substituting whole grains such as brown rice for white rice was shown to lower the risk of diabetes by 21%.
The fiber in whole grains also aids in keeping your digestive track working properly and research from the Iowa Women's Health Study showed that women who ate two or three servings of whole grains per day were 30% less likely to die from an inflammatory disease.
Remember it's the "whole" part of the grain that's important. The bran and fiber in whole grains makes it harder for the digestive system to turn the grain into glucose. Unlike white flour and many starchy foods that turn to glucose quickly and spike your sugar level. Then an hour later your sugar level crashes and you're hungry and cranky. Whole grains don't have that affect on your system.
So to sum up; while I agree with cutting down on starches and carbs like white sugar and white flour -- it's important to keep whole grains in your diet. They'll keep your digestive system moving, lift your energy level, and help you feel full so you won't be tempted to eat the wrong foods.
Imágenes vía Enriqueta Lemoine