The benefits of whole grains


We’ve been hearing a lot about the benefits of eating whole grains lately. All kinds of products that contain whole grains have made their way to the supermarket shelves, snack bars, breakfast cereals, breads, flours, etc. But what are whole grains and their benefits? Do we really need them?

A grain is any kind of cereal grain or seed such as oats, wheat, rice, barley and rice. It is formed by bran, the outer shell rich in fiber, omegas, vitamins and minerals; germ, the part that provides nourishment for the seed is rich in essential nutrients like Vitamin E, folate, phosphorous and fiber; and endosperm, the tissue that surrounds the germ and provides energy in the form of carbohydrates and protein. To make refined flours the germ and bran are stripped from the grain, thus losing a big part of its nutritional value.

Some of the benefits of consuming 2.5 servings of whole grains a day may include:

  • Reduce the risk of heart disease by decreasing cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and blood coagulation.
  • Reduce the risks of many types of cancer.
  • Help regulate blood glucose in people living with diabetes.
  • Weight loss.
  • Reduce risk of metabolic syndrome
  • Help prevent gallstones
  • Promote gastrointestinal health and help bowel movement
  • and many others…

I have actually experienced some of these benefits since I started including more whole grains in my diet. For several months I struggled to lose the last 5-10 pounds to reach my weight goal, but I’ve seen some very encouraging results since I changed regular breads and pastas for the whole-wheat kinds. Whole grains have also improved my gastrointestinal health.

What kinds of whole grains do I eat? Besides baking my own whole-wheat at home and changing regular pastas for whole-wheat pastas I also include whole oats and flax seed in my protein shakes, drinks, breads and fruit salads. I also try to eat more brown rice, although I still have trouble cooking it. We love pizza so I use the same recipe for the whole-wheat bread to make the pizza pie and top it with a lot of vegetables and lean meats. And for my lunches I like to make quick whole-wheat pasta dishes.

Whole-wheat Pizza

The dish on the first picture was yesterday’s lunch. A quick garlic, poblano and bell pepper pasta dish. The preparation was extremely simple. In an skillet sautee 4 garlic cloves in olive oil. Add 1 bell pepper and 1 poblano pepper previously roasted and cleaned. Add cooked pasta, salt and black pepper and mix well. Serve and sprinkle with parmessano cheese and enjoy a healthy and flavorful lunch.

¡Buen provecho!

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  • Good for you for eating more whole grain! I try to eat more whole grain, too. Love it!

  • Good job! Did you use the same dough recipe for the bread for your pizza base? thats a smart idea. i'm still struggling to bake bread with whole wheat flour (i've been using "white" whole wheat) and the results have been less than stellar =(

  • Great post on the benefits of whole grains Ben…and what a delicious pasta dish too. Yum!

  • I, too, make a concentrated effort to eat whole grains…though I wait for the other shoe to drop one day…and we'll hear it's not all that good for us! 🙁

  • I agree with what you are saying Ben. Whole grains make our every day cooking that much better!!!!!

  • That is quite a goodlooking pasta dish Ben. I totally agree on the benefits of eating whole grain and I do try and incorporate that as much as possibly in my diet!

  • Great post Ben. The benefits of eating whole grains are numerous and I wish I could convince my family to start eating some. Your pasta dish looks delicious.

  • I like cooking with whole grains but sometimes I don't like the texture in the dish. For example, cooking with only whole grain pasta is nice but doesn't always hit the mark. I sometimes I mix regular pasta and whole grain together. That way I can get the best of both worlds.

  • Great information! I'm a fan of whole wheat pastas, and your dish with poblanos and bell peppers looks fantastic!

  • You sound like a very healthy young man. Good for you. Great info on whole grains. Thanks.

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