In some circles, whole grains have gained a negative reputation, thanks to the prevalence of gluten-free propaganda. In reality, however, there’s no reason to avoid gluten, unless you have celiac disease or some form of non-celiac gluten sensitivity. For most healthy people, whole grain diets provide countless benefits related to improved health, longer lives and trimmer waistlines.
Counting the Benefits
- Fiber: Most whole grains are rich in fiber, which helps to lower LDL or “bad” cholesterol, control blood sugar and reduce the risk of colon cancer.
- Digestion: Thanks to its high fiber content, whole grain also aids digestion and promotes better nutrition absorption.
- Blood pressure: Studies suggest that whole grain foods have the power to prevent and reduce hypertension.
- Weight loss: Research indicates that people who eat whole grain diets enjoy better physiques, thanks to reduced cravings, lower insulin levels and healthier fat distribution.
- More energy: Because they take longer to digest, whole grain foods prevent crashes associated with insulin spikes.
- Diabetes: By preventing insulin spikes, whole grain also drastically reduces the risk of diabetes.
- Vitamin B: Rich in niacin, riboflavin, thiamin and folate, whole grains provide critical B vitamins that support brain function and prevent birth defects.
- Minerals: In addition to a number of essential vitamins, whole grain foods deliver a range of critical minerals, including selenium, magnesium and iron.
- Asthma prevention: Studies suggest children have a reduced risk of developing asthma when they eat more whole grains early in life.
- Inflammation: Research also indicates that whole grains can promote better health and ward off disease by reducing inflammation.
- Reduced cancer risk: There’s also emerging evidence showing whole grain consumption could reduce the risk of specific cancers, such as pancreatic, breast and colorectal cancer.
- Dental benefits: After evaluating 35,000 subjects, one compelling study showed that whole grain consumption reduced the risk of gum disease by 23 percent.
Nutritious and delicious, whole grain foods provide a wealth of health benefits that make them an important part of healthy diets. U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend that adults eat three to six servings of whole grain foods every day, so consider adding more to your diet if you’re falling short.