Carbs! I love carbs. How about you, OiB readers? Surely, you have heard some media discrediting the greatness of grains throughout the years. Namely, people like to say that too many carbohydrates are bad for you and make you gain weight. Today, I would like to counter that superstition and fill you on why you need grains.
But not just any type of grain will work. You need to consume unprocessed (not refined) whole grains.
What is a Whole Grain?
All grains, according to the Whole Grain Council, begin whole. Whole grains are, basically, the entire seed of a plant, made up of three edible parts—the bran, germ, and endosperm.
The barn is a multi-layered outer shell that has antioxidants, essential B vitamins, and plenty of dietary fiber.
The germ is the potential new sprout. Here, you find more B vitamins, some protein, minerals, and healthy fats.
Lastly, the endosperm is the energy supply of the germ. Contained in the endosperm are carbohydrates, proteins, and trace amounts of other nutrients.
What Makes Grains “White”?
When whole grains are stripped of some key parts—the bran, germ, or endosperm—they become refined or processed. White flour and white rice, for example, have had the bran and germ removed, leaving only the starchy endosperm behind.
Why Are Whole Grains Healthier?
That is the main question here, is it not? Obviously, whole grains have a lot of vitamins and nutrients than refined grains do, but these are not the main reason why you need them in your diet.
Starches throw your blood sugar out of whack. Whole grain carbohydrates do not have the same effect. Whole grains are slowly absorbed and metabolized, meaning that blood sugar stays level. Also, whole grains are known to reduce the onset of heart disease.
In fact, a recent 2016 study proved that whole grains are linked to a longer lifespan. The meta-analysis was comprised of 14 studies and found that eating 3 servings of whole grains a day was “associated with a 25 percent lower risk of death from heart disease, and a 14 percent lower risk of death from cancer”.
How Can I Eat More Whole Grains?
I have good news for you—there are more whole grain choices available now than ever before. Add the following foods to your diet to ensure you are eating enough whole grains:
- Whole grain cereals, breads, and crackers
- Air-popped popcorn
- Quinoa and other ancient grains like amaranth
- Brown rice
- Whole wheat flour
As you can see, there are a lot of whole grain options out there. Add whole grain pasta or brown rice to the dinner plate, select bread made from whole grains and seeds, and opt for a bowl of oatmeal in the morning! I promise the greatness of grains will keep you satiated throughout the day and much healthier in the long run.
Feel free to share your whole grain tips, recipes, and knowledge with other OiB readers.