If the new buzz word in health corridors is to be believed, then ‘brown’ is the new ‘healthy’. By brown, we mean whole grains.
Health experts recommend whole grains while advising us to stay away from eating white (read: White bread, white pasta, white grits, white couscous, and white rice). But, why whole grains? What is so magical about them? To answer all this and more, today we have with us Dr. Amitabh Pandit, Orthomolecular nutrition expert and author of BJAIN book – Super Foods – Make Your Child a Genius. He gives us his expert insight on how and why one must benefit from whole grains.
Different kinds of whole grains and how they are beneficial.Grains are essential part of a healthy diet. Grains and whole grains come in different shape and sizes. They are good sources of carbohydrates and some key vitamins and minerals. Whole grains are unrefined grains, without bran, whose germs are removed by milling. The refined grains are milled, in which a fine texture is given to extend their shelf life. White rice, white flour, white bread are a few examples. Enriched grains are those grains, which are enriched by vitamins and minerals.
Understanding the concept of refined grains. As refined grains are treated during processing, they lose their nutrients and vitamins. Therefore, whole grains are recommended instead of refined grains, as refined grains have many sub standards like excessive starchiness, use of chemicals to bleach, use of colours for colouring and majorly imbalanced nutritive values.
Is my 100% whole wheat bread whole grain? This purely depends on the manufacturing process of the bread maker. In some countries, definitely yes, it is available and in same cases in India too.
Note that while white whole wheat bread might look and taste like white bread, it has most probably the same nutritional ingredients as in a regular whole grain or whole wheat bread. White whole wheat bread includes albino which is a variety of wheat with a much sweeter and milder flavour. Make sure that when you are buying regular whole wheat bread its label mentions red wheat which is a dark in colour wheat and a slightly sour taste.
How do I know if a product is made with whole grains? First, check the label on the package. Products mentioned as Organic or Multigrain cannot be whole grain. Be aware of what types of whole grains are available in the market. Some whole grains are made of barley while others are made of buckwheat, whole wheat, oatmeal, millet and barley.
Do make sure that you read labels before buying any of the whole grain products.Ideally, whole grain products should have multi grain, rye, whole wheat, pumpernickel. Never believe the fake marketing gimmicks of whole grain products when they say ‘made with whole wheat’ as these products are often refined. As mentioned above, check for the ingredients and also keep an eye on the percentage of the whole grain in the product.
Top strategies to get whole grain in your daily diet. Switch to brown bread and rice from white bread and rice. Include popcorn, oat meal in your diet. Have whole wheat pasta & pizzas instead of regular ones. No Indian meal is complete without having one or two chappatis. Try and incorporate whole grains in your chappatis. Prepare them from whole wheat, bajra, jowar, and Ragi for maximum health benefits instead of flour.
Explaining the calorie-controlled benefits of whole grains. Whole grains are very useful in losing weight, as the foods that are high in carbohydrates are lower in calories. The fiber and protein in whole grains helps to regulate blood sugar, which increase satiety and delay the return of hunger. You won’t need to worry about calories in your diet, when consuming whole grains, as whole grain products are always efficient in calorie control. All health experts suggest brown rice, brown bread and other whole grain products for controlling weight.