The dilemma of what to add and what to remove from the diet is gaining strength with each passing day, as more and more people become conscious of their dietary needs to develop a healthier lifestyle.
Carbohydrates are one of the essential elements of primary food intake. They can be majorly categorised into whole or refined, speaking in very simple terms.
Refined Carbohydrates vs Whole Carbohydrates
Refined carbohydrates are predominantly found in carbonated soft drinks, white pasta, white bread, breakfast cereals and all kinds of sweets. While they are easy to access and most widespread, it is clinically proven that these carbs are progressive reasons for developing Type-2 Diabetes, heart problems and increased weight gain. This enhances the need to reduce refined carbohydrates from one’s daily diet is easier said than done.
Whole carbohydrates undergo basic processing and hence, include the core ingredients that benefit the human body to a significant extent. Found mainly in green whole grains, oats, potatoes and quinoa help better a person’s overall health.
Why are whole grains so wholesome?
Wholegrains are grains that haven’t had their outer bran and germ part removed, as opposed to refined grains and having thrice the number of nutrients. They include:
Complex carbs/dietary fibre
Vitamin E and B vitamins
Selenium, which acts as an antioxidant
Minerals such as iron, manganese, magnesium and copper
Why wholegrains are healthier for the body?
Whole grains reduce the chance of multiple heart diseases that can result from enhanced levels of LDL cholesterol.
Lower chances of developing cancer in the lower digestive tract because they are easy to digest and absorb easily into the system.
Contain high fibre levels, which are beneficial for bacteria in the gut by helping them to produce fatty acids that shield the inner walls of the digestive system.
Regular intake of whole grains can help control obesity by allowing the body to regulate the build-up of fat and evenly distribute it over time.
Wholegrains possess a low glycaemic index (GI) which facilitates regular but slow burning of carbohydrates in the blood, thereby helping to keep one energetic for longer periods. This, in turn, reduces the need for constant carbohydrate intake and reduces the over-consumption of sugary foods.
Inflammatory markers lead to chronic inflammation, the gateway to multiple diseases. Whole grain consumption reduces inflammation by adding essential yet healthy components to the body.
Type-2 Diabetes can be controlled by adding whole grains to your diet. The breakdown of carbs is connected strongly with magnesium, a primary constituent of whole grains, which serves as a key element in regulating insulin sensitivity in the body.
There are many options to choose from when picking the best superfood that includes whole grains. Here are the top five picks:
Whole wheat is a definite yes in the list of wholegrain-based foods and is readily available as it can be found in many different food products such as bread, pasta, semolina, noodles etc... However, choosing the best version of whole wheat is essential and picking up ‘100% whole wheat’ labelled items can go a long way towards making you healthier.
Whole wheat contains both bran and husk as opposed to plain wheat, which reduces the gluten concentration, proving beneficial for people with gluten intolerance.
Switching from regular wheat to whole wheat is highly recommended because of the multiple health benefits associated with its constituents, such as vitamins, minerals and fibre.
Buckwheat sounds like a variety of wheat, but interestingly, it isn’t. Instead, it qualifies as a cereal, even though it is generally a seed,
Beneficial for people with celiac disease, buckwheat is loaded with:
Magnesium enhances the responsiveness of the nervous system, contributes to reducing inflammation and betters PMS symptoms,
Manganese factors in as a catalyst to promote healthy body metabolism and enhances multiple brain functions,
Starch that becomes food for bacteria in the gut
The best part about buckwheat, an all-around dietary supplement for the body, is that it can be moulded into various items such as a pancake or even a bowl with mushrooms.
One of the major superfoods available it’s a seed like buckwheat. Having originated in South America, it has the highest protein count of any grain in addition to higher vitamin and mineral levels. It's probably one of the best options for a vegetarian diet as it possesses every one of the nine plant-based amino acids.
Coupled with nuttiness in every bite, it is also gluten-free, making it perfect for people with low gluten tolerance levels (celiac disease). It contains manganese, phosphorus, folate and Vitamin B1 are essential for cell function.
Packed with energy and antioxidants, a healthy quinoa intake can help reduce the risk of heart diseases and eliminate free radicals in the bloodstream that cause cancer.
When first eating quinoa, yellow quinoa is the best option because of its milder taste. Once you've grown accustomed to the taste, red and black variants are good options to add as they promise a stronger taste.
Corn is a staple food commodity across the globe, and it's even better in its unprocessed form.
Corn contains many nutrients from microminerals, such as manganese, zinc, and phosphorus. It is gluten-free and rich in Vitamin C, which keeps heart diseases at bay and protects cells.
Yellow corn has carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin, which make the eye healthier while also protecting the lens from damage due to ageing, thereby preventing the early advance of cataracts. It also contains phytonutrients which act as antioxidants, present in lesser quantities in blue/purple corn.
Even if it is rich in starch, switching to corn and corn-based products can go a long way to help one adapt to a healthier lifestyle.
It is common knowledge that oats help improve the overall well-being of a person.
Rich in multiple nutrients like vitamins, minerals and good fibre that make the gut healthier, oats are naturally gluten-free. The best thing about oats as wholegrain is their ability to lower LDL cholesterol levels, courtesy of the soluble fibre beta-glucan, which can also improve digestion and enhance the functionality of cells in absorbing nutrients into the body.
Picking up oats at a supermarket can be misleading as most oats come with added sugars that decrease the overall nutrition quotient of the product. It is always better to pick up steel-cut oats, rolled and oat groats because of their better quality.
What to Take Away
One of the best things about whole grains is how they can benefit a person's overall lifestyle. From reducing the risk of many health problems such as heart issues and obesity to serving as a healthy alternative for a lot of regular food items, wholegrains can impact the entire inner ecosystem within a person. Introducing whole grains into your life could reduce your other health problems or simply support your body.
Whole grain foods are easy to access and easy to cook with. If you're planning on starting a new healthy diet, whole grain foods have a long shelf life and contain important nutrients for most people, which makes them a complete package. To improve your whole grain intake, you can start using whole grain bread, brown rice instead of white rice, rye crackers, and adding grains such as quinoa into salads, which will also make them more filling.
The best bit is that there are so many options to pick one from. For a better, every day, try switching to whole grains to lead a healthier lifestyle.
At Welzo, we offer a large range of dietary support from testing to supplements. To get an understanding of your diet, try our Health and Lifestyle Blood Test, click here to order now.
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