Those were the days when your forefathers led a simple lifestyle; depending on whole grains and for contributions to their healthy diets. However, not today anymore where many youngsters are living on the fast track lifestyle; grabbing anything from fast foods to good-to-taste buds foods without giving a thought about what happens to them in their later years.

You would have know by now the greatness of whole grains but what exactly represents whole grains? These are cereals which are members of the gramineae (grass) plant family comprising of eigth class types namely wheat, corn, rice, oats, rye, barley, millet and sorghum.

Wholegrains that undergo minimal processing are good sources of fibre and comprise of three layers termed as the germ, endosperm and the bran. Called the embryo, the germ portion contains vitamins E and K, essentila oils, minerals and proteins whereas the endosperm is that starchy part containing 80% of the kernel. The bran portion is the outer layer consisting of fibre, protein, B-complex vitaminsand minerals. All grains containing these three layers differ in composition and nutrient values.

However, in modern times, most grains undergo some form of refining process which results in the loss of many vitamins, minerals and bioactive phytochemical substances found within the bran and germ layers. Such stripping of its nutrients may not make wholegrains a wholegrain by itself.

Wholegrains that undergo minimal processing are good sources of fibre which is needed not only to maintain a healthy digestive tract but instead reduces cholesterol levels. Excellent sources of folate, B vitamins, iron, zinc, copper, magnesium, selenium, chromium, vitamin E and phosphorus are found in abundance in wholegrains; thereby replenishing your body with natural supplies. The importance of folate is noted for its ability to reduce blood levels of amino acid homocysteine which in high levels, despite experiencing low cholesterol level in the blood stream, is associated with increased heart diseases. These are the healthy contributions from wholegrains.

Let us look at the difference between wholgrains and refined grains. Whole grains, such as rolled oats and brown rice, must contain all three parts of the kernel. You can eat whole grains on their own or find them as ingredients in products or recipes. Refined grains are whole grains that have had the germ and the bran removed such as white rice, white flour, grits and cream of wheat. This results in a loss of fibre, vitamins and minerals. Some refined grains are enriched with vitamin where some of the lost minerals and vitamins are added back.

How would wholegrains contribute to disease prevention? What is its role in prevention of diseases?New studies have shown that a diet rich in whole grains may help fight your belly bulge while lowering the risk of heart diseases. Wholegrain consumption leads to a decrease in the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein levels in their blood. A high level of this marker is thought to place patients at a higher risk for diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Increase in fiber and magnesium intake through whole grain consumption may prevent or delay the potential onset of diabetes.

According to studies done, eating whole grain cereal for breakfast every day can reduce a man’s risk of heart disease by 29 percent whereas ischeamic stroke amongst women were noticeably reduced. Other benefits indicated by recent studies include reduced risk of asthma, healthier carotid arteries, lower risk of colorectal cancer, healthier blood pressure levels, less gum disease and tooth loss, acne formation, promotes increases in probiotics benefits in bifidobacteria and lactobacillus, contributes to lower BMI and less central adiposity (abdominal fat), reduction in age-related macular degeneration, reduction in breast cancer and increases in antioxidants power.

It looks like you must not miss out your path to healthy diet. Continue with your crave over wholegrain diets. Happy eating.