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Why You Should Eat More Grains

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There are so many half-truths, false health claims, rumours and misinformation about grains being thrown at us left and right.  

It's a low-carb world, and many people are pushing grains off their plate in an effort to control their waistline.

A report by Harvard Medical School reveals that these people maybe doing a disservice to their body. 

“Whole grains have some unique properties that make them a valuable addition to the diet. Not only do they contain a host of nutrients, such as iron, B vitamins, copper, zinc, and magnesium,” says the report in part.

The study has also linked diets rich in whole grains to a lower risk of colon cancer, which is a growing health threat for many Kenyans. 

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"The main benefit of whole cereal grains, such as wheat, oats, and barley, is in the fiber," says Teresa Fung, adjunct professor in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. "Cereal fiber is different from vegetable fiber or bean fiber."

A reduced risk of colon cancer has been linked to fiber from grains, but not necessarily fiber from other sources, such as fruits and vegetables, she says. Whole grains have other health benefits as well. They lower cholesterol levels and reduce chronic inflammation, which has been linked to cancer and heart disease. Reducing chronic inflammation inside the body may also help to control blood pressure.

Besides, whole grains may improve blood sugar control. These grains break down slowly during digestion, which helps to keep blood sugar levels on an even keel. Similarly, some studies have linked whole grains with a lower risk of ever developing diabetes.

Also, whole grains may be good for your gut. The fiber in whole grains is what's known as a prebiotic, which is a substance that helps to feed, grow, and sustain healthy bacteria in your intestines. You've probably heard of probiotics, which are beneficial organisms that can be delivered to the gut by certain foods.

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When you eat foods that contain probiotics, they join the existing community of some 100 trillion bacteria and other microorganisms in your digestive tract, known as the microbiome. But prebiotics are important too. They can foster a diverse, healthy microbiome, which may help ward off inflammation inside the body that can lead to chronic health conditions.

Lastly, you are advised to keep off refined grains. When grains are milled, they are stripped of both the bran and the germ. This process makes the texture more appealing and extends the shelf life of the grains, but it also takes away many of the healthy components, including vitamins E and B, antioxidants, cancer-fighting plant chemicals known as phytochemicals, and healthy fats. 

Source: opera.com
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