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The Legit Health Benefits of Whole Grains

By Sara Butler

Did you know there’s evidence that people have eaten whole grains for tens of thousands of years? It’s true! When they couldn’t bring down that giant wooly mammoth, they munched on some whole grains to provide their bodies with what they needed to stay healthy. In modern times, it’s thought that our cavemen ancestors were really onto something when it came to diet. That’s why you hear a lot of people talking about the paleo diet these days -- a diet that mistakenly cuts out whole grains. The truth is that your body evolved to require the nutrients found in whole grains -- and here are some legit benefits whole grains provide to your health and wellness.

What are Whole Grains?

First things first, whole grains need to be defined. Grains are seeds. Corn, wheat, and rice are some of the most common varieties of whole grains out there today, but amaranth, quinoa, and buckwheat are also considered whole grains.

Grains are often processed when they’re harvested and the levels of processing differ. Whole grains can be crushed, cracked, or rolled, all of which leave all three parts of the grain intact. When grains are refined, it often removes two of the three parts of the grain, removing important minerals and vitamins in the process. Refined grains are not whole -- and the whole grains are the ones you should be shooting for.

Great examples of whole grains include:

  • Popcorn
  • Oatmeal
  • Quinoa
  • Brown rice
  • Millet
  • Wild rice
  • Freekeh
  • Barley
  • Sorghum
  • Wheatberry
  • Bulgur
  • Whole rye

Make sure you read the ingredients on anything that advertises itself as a whole grain so you know if it’s actually a whole grain or if it’s been refined.

The Benefits of Whole Grains

The reason you need whole grains for your health are several, such as:

  • They’re high in fiber
  • They’re high in nutrients
  • They lower your risk of heart disease
  • They lower your risk of stroke
  • They reduce the risk of obesity
  • They reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes
  • They support digestion
  • They can reduce inflammation

The only caveat to whole grains is that they do contain gluten, so if you have celiac disease or a sensitivity to gluten, then they may cause a reaction. Rice, oats, amaranth, and buckwheat are usually fine for people with these conditions.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Katy, Tex.

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