Whole grains have been touted as one of the healthiest foods you can eat. After all, whole grains provide you with plenty of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. But what are the benefits of eating whole grains? And should you start including more whole grains in your diet?
If you’ve ever been told to cut back on carbs or increase your protein intake, you know that eating a balanced diet isn’t always easy. And when you’re looking to add more whole grains to your diet, it can be even harder.
Fortunately, eating more whole grains isn’t as difficult as you think. In fact, eating more whole grains has numerous benefits. And once you learn about these benefits, you’ll quickly see why you should start including more whole grains in your diet today.
What Are the Types of Whole Grains?
Although many people think of whole grains as being similar to the grain found in bread, they come in many different types.
A gluten-free grain with a mild flavor, amaranth is a good option for people who want to include more whole grains in their diet but don’t like the flavor of traditional whole grains.
Also known as “kasha,” buckwheat is a small, hard grain with an earthy flavor and the dietary benefit of being gluten-free.
Also known as “cracked wheat,” bulgur is made from wheat kernels that have been boiled, dried, and crushed into a large, soft grain.
Oats are a type of whole grain that are typically consumed as porridge or as a flavoring in foods such as granola.
A strong grain with a slightly bitter flavor, rye is a good option for people who don’t like the flavor of traditional whole grains.
What are the benefits of eating whole grains?
Thanks to their high fiber and nutrient content, eating more whole grains has been linked to a decreased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, and obesity.
Here are 4 benefits of eating more whole grains:
- They can improve your digestive health. Eating more whole grains can help you get more fiber, which can reduce your risk of digestive cancers and promote regularity. Fiber also helps with weight loss because it makes you feel full longer.
- Eating more whole grains can help protect your heart. Fiber, essential fatty acids (EFAs), vitamin E, and carotenoids found in certain fruits and vegetables can all help reduce your risk of developing heart disease. A diet high in whole grains can help you get these heart-healthy nutrients.
- Eating more whole grains can protect your skin from damage. Vitamin E and carotenoids found in certain fruits and vegetables can help protect your skin from sun damage and wrinkles. Eating more whole grains can help you get these healthy nutrients.
- Eating more whole grains can improve your memory. Whole grains contain nutrients that can help with brain health, which is why they’re also beneficial for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
Here are some heart-healthy benefits of eating more whole grains:
- They can improve your cholesterol levels. Eating more whole grains can decrease your risk of developing high cholesterol because they contain plant chemicals known as sterols that can lower your cholesterol.
- They can decrease blood pressure. Eating more whole grains can decrease your blood pressure because they contain potassium, magnesium, and sodium.
- They can protect your mental health. Eating more whole grains is associated with a reduced risk of developing dementia because they contain B vitamins, vitamin E, and other important nutrients.
- More fiber: Eating more whole grains can protect your digestive health by increasing your fiber intake. Fiber is known to prevent digestive cancers and can also prevent heart attacks and strokes.
- More vitamins: Eating more whole grains can increase your vitamin B intake. Vitamin B is important for your heart health and can improve your cholesterol, memory, and skin health.
- More minerals: Eating more whole grains can increase the amount of minerals in your diet. Potassium and magnesium are important for healthy blood pressure and heart function, while iron is important for healthy blood cells.
- Stronger bones: Eating more whole grains can strengthen your bones because they contain vitamin B2, B3, B5, and B6.
- Weight loss: Eating more whole grains can help you lose weight because they are low in calories. A diet high in whole grains can also help you feel fuller for longer, making it easier to prevent overeating.
- Stronger muscles: Eating more whole grains can improve your muscle health thanks to their protein content.
- Healthy brain cells: Eating more whole grains can help protect your brain cells from oxidative damage and maintain a healthy blood sugar level.
The benefits of eating more whole grains are many and varied, and eating them can help you feel healthier, stronger, and better able to do anything you set your mind to.
Eating whole grains is easy—all you have to do is choose them as an option for bread, cereal, crackers, or pasta. You’ll start to notice the difference in how you feel both physically and mentally once you start eating more whole grains.