Making the switch to whole grain foods and ditching traditional “white” options is a solid choice when it comes to achieving optimal health, and it’s not just for purposes of weight loss either. Because, despite the fact that white bread, white rice and other items made with refined grains or white flour taste fantastic, they really do nothing except provide calories that turn into a quick sugar boost in your bloodstream. Whole grain foods, on the other hand, have many benefits that work for both weight loss and maintaining your overall health.
For instance, whole grain foods can provide an abundance of fiber that can help with natural relief from constipation. Higher fiber foods also help slow the breakdown of carbohydrates in the body, which helps to regulate blood sugar and help you avoid the highs and lows that blood sugar spikes can bring on. Plus, maintaining more even blood sugar levels can help prevent the development of type 2 diabetes, as well as help you manage your health better if you already have the disease.
Whole grain foods also decrease your risk of heart disease and stroke. In fact, studies have shown that simply switching to whole grain options can give you the enough daily fiber to can reduce your risk of stroke by 7% or more (up to 36% by some accounts) — and when it comes to heart disease, those who maintain a high-fiber diet have a 40% lower risk of heart disease. Other conditions that are relieved or avoided by high fiber diets include reduced risk of gallstones, irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulitis, asthma and hemorrhoids.
The benefits of whole grain foods also extend to the lowering of triglycerides and bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol), allowing a comprehensive approach to better cardiovascular health.
Of course, whole grain foods are also great for those trying to lose weight. The extra fiber helps you stay full longer and keeps cravings at bay. But what most people don’t realize is that it also helps with keeping the skin healthy and acne under control by helping to move toxins out of the body, too.
Aside from fiber, whole grain foods also possess incredible nutritional value that can’t be overlooked. And, while vitamins and minerals vary depending on which grains you are eating,whole grain foods are likely to contain significant amounts of important nutrients like magnesium, potassium and selenium, as well as B vitamins and phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are chemicals that occur naturally in plants that help us all fight chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and cancer.
With all the benefits that whole grain foods can provide, it only makes sense to include them in your diet. So, make the switch, and you may be surprised how much healthier you look and feel.