As our societies advanced, we have had more time to devote to enjoying life and not just eking out a living between the work we had to do to survive. With this, we began to expand our palates and started refining our foods, and including a lot more things like sugar and flavors just for taste. We are finding now that the use of more refined foods has a cost: namely, that it has removed a lot of the key parts of our once robust diet and replaced them with empty flavors and calories.
There has been a lot of push for whole grains now. So what is a whole grain? A whole grain is something like wheat, corn, millet, oat, etc., that has undergone a minimum amount of processing. Specifically, they have not been “milled,” or had the bran and germ removed. The process of milling removes these essential components, robbing our grains of much of the vitamins and fiber they once had.
The nutrients in whole grains have been shown to play a key role in reducing the risk of disease. For example, the antioxidants in whole grains are believed to decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease and gastrointestinal and hormone-dependent cancers. Soluble fiber in whole grains has been shown to decrease the “bad” cholesterol (LDL) while increasing the “good” cholesterol (HDL). Fiber also helps regulate your gastrointestinal system, alleviating constipation and promoting colonic health. Eating whole grains may also prevent the onset of type two diabetes. The fiber in whole grains slows the digestion of carbohydrates, helping your body maintain steady blood sugar levels.