Why Whole Grains?

Why Whole Grains?

You hear a lot about eating “whole grains.” But why?

All grains start life as whole, or intact, grains. In their natural state, whole grains are the entire seed of a plant. This seed or kernel is made up of three edible parts – the bran, the germ, and the endosperm. When you “refine” a grain, you are only left with the endosperm.

When you refine a grain down to a refined flour, you are left with calories void of nutrients, or “empty calories.” Because of this, it is encouraged to eat whole or intact grains as opposed to white, refined grains. They pack many nutrients, including fiber, that are health promoting.

When you refine a grain down to flour, it also becomes extremely easy for your body to digest. Quickly broken down into glucose, food products made with refined flour cause a large spike in blood sugar and hit our brain hard and fast. This blood sugar spike triggers the pleasure center in our brain leaving us wanting more and more of the product. Additionally, it is leaving us without actual nutrients leaving our hunger hormones to continue to tell us that we are hungry.

So in order to nourish your body well, keep your hunger and satiety hormones happy and keep your intake in control, reach for whole grains!

Several whole grain examples include:

  • Amaranth
  • Barley
  • Buckwheat
  • Corn
  • Millet
  • Oats
  • Quinoa
  • Brown rice
  • Wheat

So, next time you are headed down the bread, cracker, rice or pasta aisle, check your labels. Look for products that are 100% whole grain. Try brown rice with your dinner tonight or make a homemade barley soup. Your body will thank you!

Want to take it to the next level? Try sprouted grains.

Sprouted grain products use a grain after sprouting has begun. Grains that have just begun sprouting offer all the goodness of whole grains, while being more readily digested. What’s more, the sprouting process can increase the amount and bio-availability of some vitamins and minerals, making sprouted grains a nutrition powerhouse. Look for Ezekial bread in your grocer’s frozen section.