Searching for the health benefits of whole grain? This is the place!
In this article, we discuss what makes a grain “whole” and reveal all the wonderful things this staple food product can do for you and your family.
We’ll also let you in on how you can be a part of The Soulfull Project’s unique community efforts to supply servings of our whole-grain hot cereal to food banks in your area.
What Are Whole Grains?
A whole grain is one that contains all the edible parts that the plant produces — including the bran, the endosperm, and the germ.
The bran is the hard outer shell of the whole grain and contains antioxidants, fiber, and minerals. The endosperm is the middle layer and is high in carbohydrates. The germ is the inner layer and contains vitamins, minerals, protein, and other plant compounds.
As you can see, each layer offers a different health benefit (discussed in the next section), which is why it’s important to eat whole grain instead of refined grain whenever possible.
How is refined grain different from whole grain?
Before they reach your table, refined grains undergo extensive processing to remove the germ and the bran, leaving behind just the endosperm.
Essentially, refined grain is just carbohydrates without the nutritional value of the other parts of the plant.
And while you do need good carbohydrates every day to keep your mind and body healthy, it’s very easy to get too many carbohydrates if all you eat is refined grain and products made with refined grain.
So what whole grain should you include in your daily routine?
There are many options to choose from, including:
- Wild or brown rice
Regardless of the grain or product you choose, make sure you read the label and verify that the ingredients contain whole grain (e.g., whole wheat flour) rather than some variety of processed or refined grain.
Benefits Of Whole Grain
1) Good Stuff In Spades
As we mentioned earlier in this article, the three parts of whole grain contain good stuff in spades, including:
- Vitamins (niacin, thiamine, folate)
- Minerals (zinc, iron, magnesium, manganese)
- Antioxidants (phytic acid, lignans, ferulic acid, sulfur compounds)
- Plant compounds (polyphenols, stanols, sterols)
Each of these micro- and macro-nutrients plays an essential role in keeping your body healthy.
We’ll discuss exactly how in the next few sections.
2) It’s Heart-Healthy
Heart disease is one of the most common health issues on the planet. The contributing factor in the majority of those cases is high blood cholesterol.
The fiber in whole grain performs three essential, heart-healthy activities in your body:
- Reduces total circulating cholesterol in your blood
- Reduces low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels
- Prevents LDL from oxidizing when it comes in contact with free radicals
Bottom line: To prevent heart disease, consume more whole grain and less refined grain so that your body receives the fiber it needs to keep everything running smoothly.
Other factors do affect your heart health (including genetics, amount of exercise you get, and whether or not you smoke), but eating whole grain as part of a healthy diet goes a long way toward reducing the impact of these variables.
3) Your Gut Will Thank You
As we touched on in the previous section, whole grain contains a high dose of fiber. More specifically, it contains high levels of beta-glucan.
Beta-glucan provides many health benefits you can’t get anywhere else, including the ability to act as a prebiotic and promote the growth of healthy bacteria in your gut.
These bacteria assist with digesting and absorbing the food you eat, making the whole process more efficient and beneficial for your body and brain.
The high dose of fiber in whole grain also helps prevent constipation and keeps your body regular.
Include this type of grain in your diet and your gut will thank you.
4) Whole Grain Linked To Less Body Fat
Fiber is already the hero of the day thanks to its heart and digestion benefits.
But the fiber in whole grain goes even further to reduce the amount of belly fat you carry and to improve your body mass index (BMI).
Here’s how it works.
We already know that whole grain contains lots of fiber in the bran. That fiber fills you up quicker than other nutrients and, thus, prevents overeating. And, when you refrain from overeating, you carry less body and belly fat.
5) May Reduce The Risk Of Cancer
The antioxidants in whole grain also provide plenty of health benefits — including helping to reduce the risk of cancer.
Antioxidants are natural chemicals found in food that help your body eliminate the free radicals (unstable atoms that damage cells) that cause aging and illness.
With fewer free radicals floating around in your system, your risk of various cancers (most notably colorectal cancer) may decrease significantly.
Of course, other factors contribute to the risk of developing cancer, but including whole grain in your diet is an easy way to keep your body as healthy as possible.
6) Whole Grain Can Lower The Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a common disease in the United States that results from a decrease in sensitivity to the hormone insulin. Whole grain may play a two-part role in lowering your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
First, it can help with weight control and prevent obesity (a major risk factor of type 2 diabetes).
As we mentioned in the body fat section, whole grain fills you up faster and helps you feel satiated sooner. Because of that, you won’t overeat, you won’t carry extra belly fat, and your weight will remain under control.
And, with less weight on your frame, you’ll be less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
Second, whole grain may help lower blood sugar levels and even improve insulin sensitivity in those who are overweight or suffer from type 2 diabetes.
The low glycemic index (how much your blood sugar levels go up after eating certain foods) and the high levels of magnesium in this nutritious food may play a part in this health benefit.
The Best Way To Eat Whole Grain
Want to know the best way to eat whole grain? Include hot cereal — or hot cereal treats — in your daily wellness routine.
Hot cereal from The Soulfull Project contains a power-house combination of whole grains, including:
We even went the extra mile to create delicious and nutritious flavors such as:
Any one of these hot cereal varieties is the perfect way to start your day. But they also make for a great meal or snack any time you’re hungry.
And for those of you with food allergies, our hot cereal is gluten-free, so you don’t have to worry about stomach pain after you eat. For even more gluten-free (and nut-free) snack options, give our Don’t Go Nuts soy spreads and chewy granola bars a try.
At The Soulfull Project, it’s our mission to have an impact on the health and happiness of our neighbors and yours.
That’s why we established a special program to benefit those in need.
For every serving of Soulfull Project hot cereal you purchase, we’ll provide the same number of servings of one of our products to a food bank in your area.
Whichever flavor you choose, The Soulfull Project is committed to helping you, your family, and your neighbors in need get a delicious and healthy meal when it matters most.
For more information on the serving-for-serving program and to check out all of our delicious oatmeal and hot cereal flavors, visit TheSoulfullProject.com today.