Whole grains have been part of the human diet for millennia because they are the best dietary source for carbohydrates, and because of this, most of them are a staple. But the proponents of many modern lifestyle diets argue that they are not good for health due to the same reason. This is not always true as most lifestyle disorders like obesity and diabetes develop due to the intake of refined grains. In this article, we will discuss the top health benefits of including whole grains as part of your plant-based diet.
What Is Whole Grain?
Whole grain is the grain kernel of cereal or pseudocereal that contains the bran, endosperm, and germ. Listed below is the nutritional content of bran, endosperm, and germ.
- Bran: It is the hard outer layer of the grain kernel, and it contains fiber, minerals, and antioxidants.
- Endosperm: This is the middle layer of the grain kernel, and it contains mainly carbohydrates.
- Germ: This is the inner layer of the grain kernel, and it contains minerals, vitamins, protein, and other phytochemicals.
Processing whole grains by rolling, crushing, or cracking them will not change their nutritional profile. That said, the removal of germ and bran in refined grains lowers their nutritional value. Apart from this, it also increases their glycemic value, which is bad for health, especially for diabetic patients.
Benefits Of Including Whole Grains In Plant-Based Meal
Higher Nutritional Content:
Whole grains have higher fiber content that helps to maintain gut health and blood cholesterol levels.
The nutrients found in whole grains are listed below:
- Fiber: Good for gut health.
- Vitamins: High in B vitamins, especially folate, niacin, and thiamine.
- Protein: Per serving of whole grains have adequate amounts of proteins.
- Minerals: The minerals contained in whole grains are iron, manganese, magnesium, and zinc. Some cereals also contain selenium, and this depends on the soil they are cultivated in.
- Antioxidants: This includes phytic acid, ferulic acid, lignans, and sulfur compounds.
Reduced Risk For Heart Diseases:
Whole grains reduce the risk of developing heart diseases, and this is mainly due to their fiber content and antioxidants. They reduce cardiovascular inflammation which is one of the main triggers of heart diseases. Because of this, healthcare experts advise reducing the intake of refined grains and replacing them with whole grains.
Reduces The Risk For Stroke:
Whole grains help to maintain cardiovascular health, and this reduces the risk of stroke. Nutrients like vitamin K, fiber, and antioxidants are responsible for this.
We hope that this article will inspire you to include more whole grains in your plant-based diet.