Health and weight loss are hugely influential reasons to eat whole grains! But what is it about whole grain products that give them these benefits over their refined alternatives? Is it worth switching and if so, what do you choose? In this post I’ve outlined the reasons you should consider eating whole grains and easy ways to implement changes to your diet.
Why should I eat whole grains?
When grains are refined (made ‘white’) they are literally stripped of virtually every nutritional value except carbohydrate, which supplies energy but little else. By eating whole grain alternatives, you can increase your intake of hugely beneficial nutrients without even thinking about it!
1. Big news! There’s a new super food in town and it’s found in whole grains! What is it? Fibre!
Fibre is an important nutrient found in all whole grain products, fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and grains. It should be an essential part of everyone’s diet but recent weight loss diets that ban or severely reduce carbohydrates have caused a dramatic decrease in its consumption. Eating plenty of fibre significantly reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, bowel cancer and constipation. It also lowers blood pressure, reducing the risk of strokes and heart attacks. The easiest way to up your intake is to switch to whole grain products such as rice, pasta, quinoa and bread.
Tip: When fruit and veg is juiced, the fibre is removed. Always whiz the whole fruit into a smoothie rather than squeezing it. We use a Nutribullet blender for making all kinds of kid (and adult) friendly smoothies!!
2. Whole grain products contain high nutrient values.
Whole grain products contain a much higher nutrient value than their refined alternatives:
- B vitamins – help release energy from fat, protein and carbohydrates.
- Iron- carries oxygen in the blood.
- Magnesium- building bones and releasing energy from muscles
- Selenium & zinc- healthy immune system.
Tip: Simple swaps to whole grain alternatives make this an easy change. Buy brown rice, whole wheat pasta and granary bread.
3. Slow release energy (whole grains have a low GI).
A well documented benefit of consuming whole grains is that they stop your blood sugar level spiking and keep you on an even keel from meal to meal. Regulating your blood sugar in this way reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes and also curbs the desire to snack unnecessarily between meals.
Tip: The perfect whole grain snacks are nuts and seeds in the their raw form. If you need a snack, reach for these to keep you going until your next meal. Believe it or not, popcorn is a whole grain. Need some more quick snack ideas?
4. Whole grains make you feel fuller for longer!
Whole grains make you feel fuller than their white counterparts so you don’t eat as much, you can eat fewer calories without trying! They take longer to digest and have a more satisfying effect on the body, reducing your tendency to snack. They may also help lead to a healthier redistribution of fat around the body and therefore less ‘belly fat’.
Tip: Experiment with different grains. Quinoa has a nutty flavour and can be a great alternative to rice. Here’s a super healthy recipe to get you started! Halloumi & Soya bean Quinoa
5. Help to reduce blood cholesterol levels.
Eating whole grain products can help to reduce blood cholesterol levels. They do this by preventing your body absorbing bad cholesterol.
Tip: Look for products specifically labeled ‘whole grain’ rather than ‘brown’ as this can just mean a colouring has been added rather than the whole grain used. Always read the ingredients to be sure.
6. Aiding digestion.
Adding whole grains into your diet will help your body’s digestive system. Whole grains contain lactic acid, which feed good bacteria in the gut.
Tip: If you’re eating a good proportion of whole grains, you shouldn’t need to buy expensive ‘good bacteria’ yoghurt drinks.
7. Reduce your risk of dying prematurely.
This final reason to increase your intake of whole grains really trumps it! Consuming whole grain foods reduces your risk of dying prematurely by reducing chronic inflammation. Inflammation is a key factor in many chronic diseases. When you lower this risk you therefore, automatically reduce your risk of a premature death.
Eat Whole Grains To Help Lose Weight Forever:
If you are following my ‘How to lose weight forever’ plan, it’s time to start putting this into practice! Remember, this is a lifestyle change for a healthier, happier you so share it with the whole family!
Understand it– Make sure you get it! Understanding why you are making a change means you are far more likely to stick to it!
Cutting out carbohydrates to lose weight is still relevant, just make sure that you aren’t cutting them out altogether and only eating the whole grain versions. Remember this change is as much about your health as it is about losing weight. Contact me or leave a comment below if you have a question or worry.
Optimise and adapt it– No one can implement every dietary change to the letter. Work out what will work for you and suit your lifestyle. Make a small change now and revisit in a few weeks. Small steps are the key to losing weight forever.
Look through your cupboards and work out which items are a simple, straight swap e.g . white rice=brown rice, pasta=wholewheat pasta, white bread=granary. These should be your starting point and form a base to build on. Try adding mixed seeds to breakfast cereal or salads as an extra fibre hit.
Master it– Once you have decided how this change can work for you, do it! Change takes time so you need to stick at it to see results. To help you master changes, don’t do it alone……….
If you need support feel free to contact me through any of my social media channels. Sometimes we all need some external motivation so if you feel that you’re struggling, get in touch!
Teach and share it– Making any change alone is hard. If everyone is doing it and understanding it, you are all in it together. Introduce ideas to your family and friends. Educate your children and get them into great habits. Share the love!
Remember to explain the reasons why when introducing a change to young children (or anyone for that matter). The best moments are hearing your child explaining it to someone else or better still, telling you off for not following your own rule!! If you encounter difficulties introducing whole grain products to your children, be sneaky and mix it in gradually! With rice and pasta, start with a half/ half mix (you’ll need to cook separately and then combine) or use sauces to disguise it, for instance. There are lots of tricks so please get in touch with any specific problems.
Are you always on a different diet? Always trying to lose weight? Stop with the quick fixes and start with the ‘forever’ plan. Join me and my family and lose weight forever!
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