6 Health Benefits Of Whole Wheat: Reasons To Opt For This Whole Grain

Benefits of whole wheat
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Whole wheat features in several cuisines, across various meals and can be had for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Its hearty flavor makes for delicious bread, pasta, waffles, pancakes, crepes, tacos, wraps, muffins, and even cake. But when you’re out grocery shopping for this grain, be sure to opt for the whole grain kind, which contains the bran, endosperm, and germ. The common, most refined variety lacks the nutrition that the whole grain contains. Here are all the benefits that whole wheat offers.

1. Boosts Digestive Health

If you have a weak stomach or tend to have digestive problems often, including whole wheat in your diet might help. It is a good source of insoluble fiber, which adds bulk to your stool and accelerates its movement through the colon, in turn relieving and preventing constipation.1

In addition to this, the bran in wheat has been found to reduce bloating and discomfort better than oats and certain fruits and vegetables. Whole wheat is also rich in prebiotics. These are nondigestible fibers that feed the healthy gut bacteria and, in turn, promote bowel health.2 3

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id="2">2. May Promote Heart Health

The fiber in whole wheat can protect heart health. Several studies have found that diets high in fiber lower the risk of heart disease. One such study found that consuming a wheat bran cereal daily for a three-week period significantly decreased total cholesterol levels without reducing the levels of “good” HDL cholesterol.

Studies have also found that diets high in dietary fiber may slightly lower blood triglycerides, which are types of fat found in your blood. If their levels rise, they may increase your risk of heart disease. Adding whole wheat to your diet can increase your overall fiber intake and protect your heart health.4 5

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id="3">3. Aids Weight Loss

The fiber in whole wheat can keep you from gaining too much weight. Studies have found that fiber-rich foods can help fill you up and prevent overeating. Whole grains, like whole wheat, have been found to be more hearty than their refined counterparts. And three servings of whole grains daily have been found to lower BMI and belly fat. One study even found that whole grain cereal and cereal with added wheat bran lowered the risk of obesity.6 7 8

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id="4">4. Lowers The Risk Of Type-2 Diabetes

Adding whole wheat to your diet can lower your risk of diabetes.9 One review of 16 studies found that replacing refined grains with whole grains and eating at least two servings of the said whole grains daily could lower the risk of diabetes.10 This could, in part, be because fiber-rich whole grains, as mentioned earlier, aids weight control and prevents obesity.11 Both of these are risk factors for diabetes. In addition to this, whole grains may also lower fasting blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity. This could be due to the levels of magnesium in whole wheat, 164 mg per cup (52.9%), that helps the body metabolize carbs and is linked to insulin sensitivity.12

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id="5">5. Reduces Chronic Inflammation

Although inflammation is a common and important response of the body to foreign substances, chronic inflammation can lead to several chronic disorders.13 Whole grains have been found to tame inflammation and one study found that women who ate the most whole grains were least likely to die from inflammation-related chronic diseases.14 Replacing refined wheat products with whole wheat alternatives is also linked to a reduction in inflammation.15

6.
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May Prevent Certain Types Of Cancer

The bran in whole wheat may keep certain types of cancer at bay. Studies have found that consuming wheat bran may prevent colon cancer, the third most common types of cancer in the world. Wheat bran has been found to hamper tumor development in people’s colons more consistently than other grains like oat bran. This could be attributed to, in part, the fiber in whole wheat, which has been found to lower the risk of colon cancer. In addition to this, phytochemical (antioxidants) lignans and phytic acid may play a role as well by reducing oxidative damage caused by free radicals.16 17 18

Wheat

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bran intake has also been found to increase the production of beneficial short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) which are healthy gut bacteria that are a major source of nutrition for colon cells, keeping them healthy. Studies have found that SCFAs may prevent tumor growth and kill cancer cells in the colon. The phytic acid and antioxidant content in wheat bran may also protect against the development of breast cancer while the fiber in it may prevent it altogether by increasing the amount of estrogen excreted by your body and reducing the levels of circulating estrogen, which may be related to a reduced risk of breast cancer.19 20 21 22 23 24 25

Consuming Whole Wheat May Cause Certain Side Effects

Although whole wheat is packed with nutrition, consuming it might not be the best idea for everyone. Side effects of this grain can occur in people who have:

Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity

Whole wheat, along with barley and rye, contains gluten which is a type of protein that some people might be allergic or sensitive to. Consuming it may cause diarrhea, bloating, gas, fatigue, rapid weight loss, iron-deficiency anemia, constipation, and depression. If you do notice any of these signs, consult a professional at the earliest.26 27 28

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Grains, such as whole wheat, are high in short-chain carbohydrates called FODMAPs which can cause symptoms like pain, bloating, constipation, and fatigue in people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which is very common.

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