At one point or another, we’ve probably all heard something about how whole grains are a better choice than refined grains. As it turns out, there are a number of specific health benefits to be had in making the choice to stick to whole grains.
Several studies have demonstrated that, with an overall healthy diet plan, consuming whole grains – such as whole wheat products, whole oats, brown rice, barley, or quinoa – reduces the risk of the following health conditions:
- Heart disease
- Colorectal cancer
- Inflammatory disease
- Periodontal disease
In addition, consumption of whole grains contributes to better maintenance of blood pressure levels and weight management. In fact, a recent study conducted at Tufts University has shown that consuming recommended amounts of whole grains – 48 grams (1.69 ounces) daily – results in reduced body mass index (BMI) and a lower prospective weight gain compared to those who consume refined grains. This is thought to be associated in part with the higher fiber content of whole grains, which may help to suppress appetite, improve glycemic control and insulin sensitivity, and benefit the gut microbiome composition.
While the chance to reap greater health benefits from choosing whole grains is promising, it is important to remember that grains are only one part of a healthy diet: one that should include enough lean protein, and fresh fruit and vegetables each day.
-Sarah C., Exercise Physiologist and Assistant Fitness Director at Dedham Health