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.
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.
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