You may have heard that whole wheat tortillas are better for you than tortillas made with white flour. Whole grain products such as whole wheat tortillas, brown rice, quinoa, cornmeal, wild rice, barley and oatmeal are nutritionally superior to refined grains because they are less processed. Refined grain products made from white flour have been stripped of essential nutrients needed for good health. Include at least three servings per day of whole grains to improve your health.
Chronic Disease Prevention
The Whole Grains Council states the main benefits of whole grains have been documented in numerous studies. The most significant health benefits of whole grains are their role in preventing chronic disease. Eating the recommended three servings of whole grains per day has been shown to reduce heart disease risk by 25 to 28 percent, stroke risk by 30 to 36 percent and type 2 diabetes risk by 21 to 30 percent.
Body Weight Management
Whole grain products have more fiber than their white counterparts. Most Americans need 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day for good health. Whole grains can supply some of the needed fiber in your diet. Fiber is digested slower, moves food through the digestive system and provides bulk which helps you feel fuller longer. Substituting three whole grain servings for refined grains per day will help you manage hunger, eat less and ultimately maintain your weight.
The United States Department of Agriculture recommends adults increase their daily intake of whole grains to improve overall gastrointestinal health. Whole grains act as a broom in your digestive system. They sweep and move food through your colon which helps in the prevention of diverticulitis, constipation and colorectal cancer.
Additional Health Benefits
Additional benefits of whole grain consumption being studiedat time of publication are the relationship to reducing blood pressure, reducing the risk of asthma, reducing inflammatory disease risk, improving the health of carotid arteries, and prevention of gum disease and tooth loss. The American Society for Nutrition states the nutrients and phytonutrients in whole grains work synergistically to improve health and need to be studied further to understand other health benefits.