1. Whole grains can contain a lot of fiber: Fiber is one big reason to eat whole grains. Adults need about 25 to 35 grams of fiber daily, and whole grains contain two types – soluble and insoluble – which are both beneficial to your health. You’ll get 5.8 grams of fiber in two slices of dark rye bread, but only 1.9 grams from the same amount of white bread. And you’ll get 5.5 grams of fiber per 1/2 cup uncooked brown rice compared with 2 grams in uncooked white rice (which is not a whole grain). And fiber’s health benefits are well known – it can help control blood sugar, lower “bad” cholesterol and reduce colon cancer risk. Focus on oats, barley and bulgur, Huffington Post reports.
2. They help digestion: The fiber content keeps bowel movements regular (studies have shown that people who eat more fiber need fewer laxatives). Fiber is responsible for much of the benefit, but whole grains also contain lactic acid, which promotes “good bacteria” in the large intestine. These organisms aid digestion, promote better nutrition absorption, and may even beef up the body’s immune system.
3. They can help lower cholesterol: Whole grains not only help prevent your body from absorbing “bad” cholesterol, they may also lower triglycerides, both of which are major contributors to heart disease. Any form of whole grain – including whole wheat, oats, brown rice, barley, corn, quinoa, rye, buckwheat and millet – will confer benefits for heart health.
4. They lower blood pressure. They also lower blood pressure, one of the most important risk factors for heart disease. One 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.
5. They can help control weight. People who eat a lot of whole grains are more likely to keep their weight in check and less likely to gain weight over time than those who eat refined grains.
6. They redistribute fat: Even if eating whole grains doesn’t actually make you lose weight, studies have shown that it can help you cut down on the amount of body fat you have and lead to a healthier distribution of that fat.
7. They make you feel full: One way whole grains may help you control your weight is by making you feel fuller than refined grains such as cookies or white bread. Whole grains take longer to digest and have a more satiating effect.
8. They help regulate blood sugar: One of the main benefits of whole grains is that compared to refined grains, they help keep your blood glucose from spiking, which can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, among other things.
9. They may reduce asthma risk: Eating whole grains early in life may ward off asthma and other allergic conditions. One study found that children who were introduced to oats as infants were less likely to have asthma or allergic rhinitis by the time they turned five.
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