Do whole grains help you live longer and healthier?
Are grains good or bad for us? If you visit to the grocery store, there is a growing interest in avoiding breads of all types (although, many of us still love pizza). While some people are either gluten intolerant or gluten allergic, a while back, Consumer Reports had a wonderful article about the truths and myths behind gluten avoidance. Despite their efforts, many people, including me have markedly reduced our intake of breads and other whites that have become dietary pariahs, and increased the sales of gluten-free foods.
While Wonder Bread was awful for us, there are many wheat-based products that are good for those who do not have problems with gluten intolerance. Many of these are whole grain breads which are much better for us nutritionally and some recent information has shown that if we consume more whole grains, we will likely live longer and feel better. While you will pay more for foods with better nutritional content, you will also have to eat less to satisfy your body’s nutritional needs as well.
Part of the problem with consuming gluten and many of the whites (bleached wheat, white rice, sugar, pasta and white potatoes for example) is that these foods promote inflammation in the body, which may be the real risk factor for circulatory and heart attack concerns, rather than dietary cholesterol. They also cause problems with blood sugar since these non-complex carbohydrates are converted to sugar easily and may lead us on the road to diseases such as diabetes and obesity.
What should you eat? Generally, more dark leafy vegetables, salads, preferably organically farmed which are shown to have better nutritional content than those which are grown with traditional pesticides. GMO foods are less preferable since we lack an understanding of their effects on us (if there are any undesirable effects). Nuts and grains are great sources of fiber and protein. Some breads that can be found at stores such as Trader Joes or Costco are high in whole grain content and are excellent sources of nutrition in your diet.
Check out the latest information regarding whole grains which creates a great argument for why we all need to have these foods as part of our diets.
Whole grains and all-cause and cause-specific mortality – are there associations beyond the established relationships with cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes?
Whole and refined grains and disease
NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study findings