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So What is All The Fuss About Whole grains? | Amoils.com

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There is much debate about the importance of whole grains in our daily diet with some health sites trumpeting the benefits of whole grains while others come out against most if not all whole grains.

Gluten intolerance

A surprisingly high proportion of the population (whether they know it or not) suffers from gluten intolerance and the whole grains of at least wheat, barley and rye should be avoided by them. There are others who find that wheat causes bloating (and I count myself among them). When consuming wholewheat, bloating can be caused by the gass that is produced when soluble fiber is being fermented. If your bowel is a at all sluggish, then this gas accumulates and you experience that bloated feeling. You may find it better to cut out wholewheat altogether or just cutting down on your portion size may be sufficient.

Digestion and intolerance

The popular health site www.mercola.com has many articles on wholegrains which are well worth researching particularly if you find you have problems with digestion and intolerance. According to Judith Wills who is the author of The Green Food Bible published by Eden Project Books: “Wholegrains are a complete, low-fat, natural, high-fiber food that people have been eating for thousands of yhears in one form or another.” She goes on to say: “They contain high levels of dietary fiber, which is good for digestive health and is thought to help prevent certain cancers and protect against heart disease. They also contain excellent amounts of B vitamins, which are important for the nervous system and many other functions.” Whole grains include barley, wheat, spelt, oats, rye, maize and quinoa and of course the wholegrain is the whole of the cereal grain comprising: the fiber-rich outer layer; the starchy endospherm (full of complex carbohydrates and protein); and the germ (offering B vitamins, vitamin E, minerals and phytochemicals). Obviously it goes without saying that such whole grains should be organic if at all possible and any GM crops should be avoided at all costs. Never choose any processed grains because the refining process drastically lowers the nutritional and valuable contents by stripping the bran and germ from the grain and adding unwanted and often artificial additives, flavorings and sugars.

There are several advantages to whole grains

  • Their lower Glycaemic Index (GI), offering slower and sustained energy release, leaving you feeling fuller for longer and making you less likely to snack.
  • Their contribution to reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Their assistance is weight management where those who eat 3 servings of wholegrain a day usually have a healthier body mass.
  • The large amount of insoluble fiber they contain, helping to keep bowel movements regular reducing the risk of hemorrhoids, anal fissures and even bowel cancer.
  • They can help to maintain a healthy gut flora by encouraging the growth of good bugs including lactobacillus, making it less likely that candida will develop.
Here are some of the different whole grains: Wholewheat – the extent of nutrition will depend on where the wheat was grown and what it has taken from the soil. Oats – with its low GI, oats make an ideal breakfast and may well help with cholesterol levels. Spelt – this is an ancient grain with more protein and fiber than wheat and helps boost the immune system with its mucopolysaccharides. Barley – this a good source of iron for healthy blood and an efficient immune system. Quinoa – this is rich in protein and has all the essential amino acid plus iron, calcium, vitamin E and several of the B-complex vitamins. It can be used instead of rice. While 3 servings of wholegrain a day are recommended, these should be spread out through the day and not be excessive. Portion sizes are important: one slice of wholegrain bread, a small bowl of whole grain cereal; a small wholemeal pitta or two rye crisp breads should be the total for consumption in one day.