Friday, July 11, 2014

Health benefits and Nutrients available in Grains - An Overview

Health benefits and Nutrients available in Grains

What are the Benefits & Nutrients available in whole grains?

Consuming grains in our daily life is very essential. They provide a lot of health benefits and nutrients contained in that is very much required for our body.

Whole grain has 3 parts:

  • Bran - Outermost layer or external skin of grain. Contains fibre, antioxidants and minerals.
  • Germ - Middle layer of grains. Contains carbohydrates.
  • Endosperm - Inner Core part of grain. Contains minerals, vitamins, proteins and trace elements.

Whole wheat, Oats, Buckwheat, Brown rice, Quinoa and millets are some of the example of whole grains.

Health Benefits of whole grains

  1. Consuming whole grains as part of a healthy diet may reduce the risk of heart disease.
  2. Consuming foods containing fiber, such as whole grains, as part of a healthy diet, may reduce constipation.
  3. Eating whole grains may help with weight management.
  4. Eating grain products fortified with folate before and during pregnancy helps prevent neural tube defects during fetal development.

Nutrients in whole grains

  1. Grains are important sources of many nutrients, including dietary fiber, several B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and folate), and minerals (iron, magnesium, and selenium).
  2. Dietary fiber from whole grains or other foods, may help reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Fiber is important for proper bowel function. It helps reduce constipation and diverticulosis. Fiber-containing foods such as whole grains help provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories.
  3. The B vitamins thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin play a key role in metabolism – they help the body release energy from protein, fat, and carbohydrates. B vitamins are also essential for a healthy nervous system. Many refined grains are enriched with these B vitamins.
  4. Folate (folic acid), another B vitamin, helps the body form red blood cells. Women of childbearing age who may become pregnant should consume adequate folate from foods, and in addition 400 mcg of synthetic folic acid from fortified foods or supplements. This reduces the risk of neural tube defects, spina bifida, and anencephaly during fetal development.
  5. Iron is used to carry oxygen in the blood. Many teenage girls and women in their childbearing years have iron-deficiency anemia. They should eat foods high in heme-iron (meats) or eat other iron containing foods along with foods rich in vitamin C, which can improve absorption of non-heme iron. Whole and enriched refined grain products are major sources of non-heme iron in American diets.
  6. Whole grains are sources of magnesium and selenium. Magnesium is a mineral used in building bones and releasing energy from muscles. Selenium protects cells from oxidation. It is also important for a healthy immune system.

Note: Even though whole grains are good in nature, it is not suitable for everyone. People allergic to gluten, should avoid grains contains gluten. For example, Barley, Wheat and Soya needs to be avoided as it contains gluten. Oats, Rice, buckwheat, amaranth are suitable for people with celiac disease and gluten intolerance.

How to use grains in our daily life

We need identify many diets where we can use wholegrain instead of refined grain. We need to keep a eye on ingredients before we take it. Some of the simple ways listed can be a good start. We can be more creative and also venture new grains and recipes. Its all our choice of lifestyle.

  1. Porridge can be prepared out of oats, finger millet and other grains.
  2. Roti/ chapathi can be prepared with whole wheat.
  3. Baked foods can be made using whole wheat rather than white flour.
  4. Using brown rice instead of white rice once in a while.
  5. Popcorns using maize corns, soaked wheat, soaked green gram are healthy snacks.
  6. Using barley along with vegetables while preparing soups.




Post a Comment