Why are grains healthy? And why do you need grains in your diet?

Cereals are known to be a good source of energy. Corn, rice and wheat are some commonly consumed grains. Despite this, some people are still debating on its health effects. A fraction of people think that grains are good for the body, whereas others think is harmful. Similarly, some health experts encourage people to eat grains in moderate amounts, whereas other advice us to completely avoid them. In fact, some diets such as paleo diet have been introduced. Such diets completely discourage people from eating grains. Well; we are going to determine if grains are good or bad for our health.

What are grains?

Grains are edible dry seeds which are small in size and very hard when raw. These seed are grown in cereals, plants that look like grass. Grains are planted and consumed from all over the globe. They are renowned for being a good source of energy. Grains can be traced back to the era of civilization. Currently, they can be packaged and processed because of technological advancements. Rye, oats, millet, sorghum and barley are other types of grains that are commonly consumed. Grains are also used in preparation of some meals such as breakfast cereals, bread and oatmeal, among others.

Difference between refined grains and whole grains

Grains are created differently. Let us start off by understanding whole grains. Whole grain has three main parts, namely:

  • Endosperm- This covers the large section of the whole grain. Endosperm is where protein and carbs are stored.
  • Bran- This is the outer layer of the grain. The outer layer contains antioxidants, minerals and fiber.
  • Germ- This is where different kinds of nutrients are stored. Here, you will find proteins, fats, carbs, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. The germ is also the part that produces new plant.

Let us cross over and look at refined grains. Here, the germ and the bran are removed in refined grains. Only the endosperm is intact on this type of grain. Please note that some grains are better eaten whole, whereas others are better off refined.

Are some grains nutritious?

This is one of the commonly asked questions. As seen above, the bran and the germ in refined grains have been removed. This leaves it with less or no nutrients for the body. Well; this is quite the opposite when it comes to whole grains. Whole grains contain different kinds of nutrients, which are beneficial for the body. These nutrients range from selenium, manganese, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, B vitamins and fiber. The nutrient levels vary depending on the type of grains. Whole wheat contains high amounts of nutrients. There are some instances, where some refined grains contain low amounts of some nutrients.

The reasons refined grains are unhealthy

As earlier seen, the bran and the germ have been removed in refined grains. In short, most of the nutrients have been removed from refined grains. A small fraction of protein and starch are left. Minerals and fiber are some nutrients that are not available in refined grains. Carbs in refined grains can be accessed with ease by the digestive enzymes. This is the reason carbs are easily broken down. It has on numerous occasions proven that carbs in refined grains can trigger high sugar levels. The sugar levels drastically rise and drop. This makes a person feel hungry and develop different types of cravings. Cravings and hunger can results into obesity and weight gain.

That’s not all; refined grains can trigger metabolic diseases. These conditions range from heart disease, type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance. You don’t get to gain from refined grains in terms of nutrients. It is evident that refined grains don’t pose any health benefits. This is the reason it is considered unhealthy.

The health benefits linked to whole grains

Whole grains are healthier when compared to refined grains. This is because they contain high amounts of nutrients. These nutrients benefit the body in numerous ways. This is the reason they are commended by nutritionists. Below are some health benefits linked to whole grains:

  • Studies have showcased that people who frequently eat whole grains are likely to live longer when compared to those who didn’t consume whole grains.
  • Frequent consumption of whole grains will significantly reduce the possibility of become obese. Whole grains can also help you reduce belly fat.
  • The antioxidants and nutrients found in whole grains are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
  • Heart disease is one of the killer diseases. It has been practically proven that people who commonly eat whole grains are less likely to develop heart disease.
  • Whole grains also lower the possibility of developing colon cancer.

Based on the above information, it is fair to state that whole grains are beneficial to the body in numerous ways.

The risks linked to Gluten in Grains

Gluten is one of the proteins found in some grains. Barley, rye, spelt and wheat are some grains that contain high amounts of gluten. Research reveals that some people are intolerant to this type of protein. People with gluten sensitivity and celiac disease are some people who should avoid gluten. There are some grains that contain FODMAPS, a carbohydrate linked with digestive distress. Therefore, you should determine if you are allergic to gluten and FODMaps before consuming grains. You can go from gluten free grains if you are allergic to gluten.

The high amounts of carbs in grains are not suitable for diabetic people

Grains are energy giving meals. This is because of the high amounts of carbohydrates. Diabetic people are more likely to experience high blood sugar spikes if they constantly consume high amounts of grains. Diabetic people are usually okay on meals that contains low amounts of carbs. However, some grains actually benefit diabetic people. Oats are some grains that can help keep blood sugar levels at bay.

The antinutrients found in Grains

Grains contain some antinutrients such as lectins and phytic acid. Antinutrients are known to interfere with absorption of nutrients and the entire digestion process. Phytic acid prevents absorption of minerals by binding them. On the other hand, Lectins are linked to gut damage. The antinutrients can also found in different healthy meals. Try the traditional method of cooking grains to remove a large amount of the antinutrients. Start off by soaking your grains before sprouting them. Lastly, ferment them.

The grain free diets

There are different kinds of diets that don’t recommend grains. Paleo diet and low carb diets are examples of these diets. Surprisingly, these diets pose plenty of health benefits. They can significantly reduce belly fat and promote weight loss.

Bottom Line

Grains and specifically whole grains benefit the body in numerous ways. This is the reason you should frequently consume them. Frequent consumption of meals with grains is likely to benefit the body in numerous ways. It is fair to state that grains are good for the body.