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Different Types of Grains and Their Pros and Cons

When people talk about getting on the healthy path of life, they usually mean exercising more and watching their diets. And when it comes to the food to eat more, grains top the list for healthy eating.

Grains are the edible seeds of certain grasses. They are commonly called cereals or cereal grains.

The grains family is made up of two main groups: the whole grains and the refined grains. Whole grains contain the endosperm, the germ, and the bran. Some popular examples of whole grains are barley, brown rice, flaxseed, bulgur, oats, millet, quinoa, sorghum, popcorn, and teff.

On the other hand, refined grains retain only the endosperm, since they undergo milling, a process where the bran and germ are removed. This is done in order to give the grains a finer texture and to prolong their shelf life. For the refined grains, you have white flour, white rice, white bread, and de-germed cornmeal.

Among the two, whole grains are definitely healthier. Whole grains retain more nutrients, like fiber and protein. They also contain more vitamins and minerals in their bran, along with healthy fats found in their germ.

And because of that, the benefits of whole grains are plenty.

Bolsters Heart Health

For one, they’re known to lower the risk of heart disease. Whole grains also lower the chances of getting a stroke. Whole grains contain compounds that can block angiotesin II, which is a protein that can lead to clogged arteries and high blood pressure.

Helps with Weight Loss

Since whole grains are abundant in fiber, they make sure you feel fuller longer, thereby helping you with healthy weight loss and lowering your risk for obesity.

Aids with Diabetes

Another benefit? Eating whole grains regularly decrease your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The fiber and magnesium content in these grains work together in maintaining an ideal weight. Whole grain intake also lowers fasting blood sugar levels and improves insulin sensitivity.

Improves Digestion

Another way fiber helps out your body is through a better digestive system. Fiber gives bulk to stool, which prevents constipation, bloating, and other similar stomach issues. Another thing is some fiber in certain grains act as prebiotics. They make sure to help feed the good bacteria in the gut, which improves digestive health.

Combats Cancer

There are several researches that show whole grains as having anti-cancer properties. There are also compounds in whole grains—like phenolic acids, saponins, and phytic acid— that slow down the development of cancer. These grains are particularly effective against colorectal cancer, which is one of the most common cancer types in women and men.

Reduces Inflammation

Not many are aware of this, but inflammation is the root cause for a number of diseases and illnesses. Luckily, whole wheat grains effectively reduce inflammation. Studies show that the regular consumption of these grains reduce inflammatory markers.

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