Wholegrain, wholemeal and brown foods provide B vitamins, vitamin E, fibre essential fats and a wide range of minerals. Many of these nutrients are lost in white or refined foods. We also digest wholegrain foods more slowly so they can help make us feel full for longer.
A large number of scientific studies have already identified significant health benefits of eating whole grains but the full benefits are still being discovered.
1. Improving heart health
2. Maintain better blood sugar control
3. Maintaining a healthy body weight
4. Improving digestive health
Recent research shows that people with healthy hearts tend to eat more whole grain foods as part of a low fat diet and healthy lifestyle.
Replacing refined grains with whole grains may offer a simple and important way to maintain healthy blood glucose and insulin levels. It has been suggested that this might be through the combined effect of the nutrients in whole grains
Studies show that people who eat more whole grain foods have a lower Body Mass Index and are less likely to gain weight over time.
Being low in fat and high in fibre and complex carbohydrates, whole grains can help you feel fuller for longer – helping you to avoid the temptation of snacking
Whole grains are an important source of both types of fibre, which can promote regularity and help you maintain a healthy bowel.
Most people don’t eat enough fibre, which can lead to poor bowel health, increase risk of bowel conditions such as chronic constipation and colon cancer. Foods rich in fibre are a healthier choice for your gut health and can also aid weight loss as they contain fewer calories than refined versions of the same foods. They also are more bulky so help to fill you up allowing you to eat smaller portions and less likely to pick between meals. Fibre-rich foods include: wholegrain bread, brown rice, wholewheat pasta, oats, beans, peas, lentils, grains, seeds, fruit and vegetables.
There are two types of fibre that are important for health: insoluble and soluble.
This is the fibre that the body can’t digest and so it passes through the gut helping other food and waste products move through the gut more easily. Insoluble fibre helps to keep bowels healthy and stop constipation.
Wholegrain bread, brown rice, wholegrain breakfast cereals and fruit and vegetables all contain this type of fibre.
This fibre can be partially digested and may help to reduce the amount of cholesterol in the blood. Particularly good sources of soluble fibre include oats and pulses such as beans and lentils.
Tips for eating more wholegrain foods and fibre
Many people’s diets are dominated by potatoes and wheat, especially refined wheat products, try to be more adventurous in your choice of grains especially when it comes to breads or root vegetables.
√ all sorts of breads and crackers including wholemeal, granary, brown, multiseed, oatmeal, pumpernickel, rye, chapattis, pitta bread, bagels, roti and tortillas
√ potatoes, plantain, yam and sweet potato
√ more exotic choices include dasheen, coco yam and kenkey
√ squash, breadfruit and cassava
√ wholegrain breakfast cereals
√ beans, lentils, peas
√ couscous, bulgar wheat
√ pearl barley
√ maize, cornmeal