Whole Grains Help You Lose Weight and Four More Things You Need to Know

September 24, 2014

Whole grains can be great for your health, find out the top five reasons you should consider including whole grains in your diet here.

Whole grains – or foods made from them – contain all the essential parts and naturally occurring nutrients of the entire grain seed. This means that 100% of the original kernel, all of the bran, germ, and endosperm, must be present to qualify as a whole grain.

Whole grains are great for your health, here are five things you need to know:

They deliver essential minerals.
Whole grains are a great source of the minerals our bodies need to stay healthy, including iron, which transports oxygen throughout the body and helps prevent anemia, magnesium, which builds bones and helps with relaxation, and selenium, which is a great antioxidant. They also contain zinc, necessary to keep your immune system in top shape.

They are full of B vitamins.
Whole grains are rich in the B vitamins thiamin, riboflavin and niacin, all of which are involved with metabolism. The bran is where the B vitamins are and whole grains (not processed) are a good source.

They fill you up.
One way whole grains may help you control your weight is by making you feel fuller than more highly refined grains. Why is this? Whole grains take longer to digest and have a more satiating effect - this same reasons could help keep portions small. Try rye, steel cut oats or quinoa to get maximum fullness.

They can help lower cholesterol.
Whole grains affect cholesterol absorption. They prevent your body from absorbing "bad" cholesterol, and may also lower triglycerides, both of which are red flags for heart disease. One study found that women who ate two to three servings of whole grain products daily were 30 percent less likely to have a heart attack or die from heart disease versus those who ate less than one serving a week.

They can positively affect blood pressure.
The heart benefits of whole grains don't stop with cholesterol and triglycerides. They also lower blood pressure, one of the most important risk factors for heart disease. A study found a 19 percent lower risk of hypertension among men who ate more than seven servings of whole grain breakfast cereal a week compared with those who ate one or less.

What are whole grains?
Whole grains include whole or cracked wheat, corn, cornmeal, popcorn, brown and colored rice, oatmeal (steel cut is best) and whole oats, barley, quinoa, sorghum, spelt and whole rye. Other examples are, grains and flours made from the following: amaranth, buckwheat, bulgur, emmer, farro, grano (lightly pearled wheat), millet, triticale, wheat berries and wild rice (which looks like a rice but is actually a different kind of grain, more akin to a grass).

Some SupermarketGuru whole grain suggestions out of the box include:

Add cooked grains to soups, salads and casseroles. A half-cup of bulgur, wild rice, brown rice or quinoa will give you six to eight grams of fiber. 
For home bakers, substitute half of the white flour with whole-wheat flour in your regular recipes for cookies, muffins, and cakes.