The Great Benefits of Wholegrains

This month we're focusing on healthy breakfasts and one of our fave's are wholegrains - whether toast or cereals. Ashleigh Feltham, owner of Feed Your Future Dietetics talks about the benefits.

WHOLEGRAINS LINKED TO SMALLER WAISTLINE, OPTIMAL BLOOD PRESSURE, CHOLESTEROL AND BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS.

Adding wholegrains to your meals and snacks each day reaps many health benefits. A recent study has reinforced the many reasons to enjoy these healthy carbohydrates as they are linked to a smaller waistline, better blood sugar control, healthy cholesterol levels, and lower blood pressure.

The study used data from the Framingham Heart Study Offspring Cohort which was conducted over 18 years and made up of 3100 adults mostly in their 50’s at the beginning of the study. It was found that those individuals who ate more than three servings of wholegrains each day had a smaller waistline, lower systolic blood pressure (the blood pressure when your heart contracts) and better blood sugar control than those who ate less than one and a half serves of wholegrains each day.

Over the 18 years, the people in the low wholegrains group resulted in an average waist circumference increase of over 1 inch compared to only half an inch in the high wholegrain group. On top of this the triglyceride levels, which in excess can lead to heart disease, were reduced more in those people who chose wholegrains over refined grain varieties in each four year follow up period.

Wholegrains contain a matrix of health benefits which can explain for these results. With the wholegrain comes more fibre which is linked to support healthy blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Wholegrains are rich in the minerals potassium and magnesium as well as antioxidants which support healthy blood pressure.

Fibre also promotes a healthy weight by keeping you feeling fuller for longer. Soluble fibre plays an important role in removing cholesterol from your body and preventing it from being reabsorbed, as a result, helping to lower your overall cholesterol levels.

Having a healthy gut is essential to your health. Wholegrains contain the food for the good bacteria in your gut called prebiotics. These include resistant starch and polyphenols in wholegrains feed the good bacteria in your gut. These good microbes help you to maintain a healthy weight, support your heart to be its healthiest and regulate optimal blood sugar levels.

If you are wanting to make sure that you are giving your body at least 3 serves of wholegrains each day, a serve of wholegrains can be:

  • One slice of bread (40g)
  • Half a cup of cooked wholegrain pasta.
  • One quarter to half a cup of cooked brown, black or red rice, wholegrain couscous, or quinoa.
  • Half a cup of cooked rolled oats.
  • 35g of wholegrain crackers
  • 30g air popped corn
  • 2 Weetbix
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