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Health Benefits of Eating Whole Grains

Grains are rich source of many nutrients like fibre, B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and folate) and minerals (iron, magnesium and selenium).

Eating grains, particularly whole grains, delivers health benefits. Grains provide many nutrients that are vital for the health and maintenance of our bodies. People who eat whole grains as part of a healthy diet have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases.

What are grains and whole grains?

Cereal grains (or simply grains) are small, solid and edible dry seeds that grow on grass-like plants called cereals. It grains consist of grains like wheat, corn, rice, oats, barley, quinoa, sorghum, spelt, rye etc. 

When these foods are eaten in their “whole” form, they are referred to as whole grains.

Grains are a staple food in many countries and the world’s biggest source of energy. They have a lot to offer than just energy.

According to Lilian Cheung, DSc, RD, a lecturer in nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, “You’re getting fibre, a healthy plant-based protein, vitamins, minerals, and a variety of phytochemicals that will improve your health,” 

Let’s dig in further to know why you should eat whole grain.

Health Benefits of Eating Whole Grains

Whole Grains May Reduce Risk of Heart Disease – Fibre from whole grains may aid in lowering blood cholesterol levels which may further lower risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes

Fight Constipation – Fibre is vital for adequate bowel function. It helps reduce constipation and diverticulosis. Whole grains also provide a feeling of fullness due to high fibre content.

Help in Managing Weight – The B vitamins thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin play an important role in metabolism.  They may help the body release energy from protein, fat, and carbohydrates.

Whole Grains Reduce Foetal Development Issues – Whole grains are a good diet for women during their child bearing years. 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 when the foetus is in development stage.

Good Source of Iron – Whole grain products are major homes of non-heme iron in American diets. Iron is required to carry oxygen in the blood.  Anaemia, an iron deficiency issue is observed in many teenage girls and women in their childbearing years. 

Whole Grains Make Muscles and Bones Strong –  Since whole grains are rich in magnesium and selenium, these aid in building bones and in releasing energy from muscles. Selenium protects cells from oxidation. 

So if you are lucky enough not to have gluten intolerance or another reason to cut back don’t stop yourself from reaping the benefits of whole grains.