Whole grains: how they help control weight and blood pressure

Currently one of the best recommendations to live better is bet on following a balanced, natural and colorful diet. The truth is that the current nutrition trend invites us to bet on a plant-based diet and there are elements that are a basic, such is the case of whole grains that shine for their fiber content. Recently a new study has found that eat at least three servings of whole grains a day It is an exceptional dietary addition to losing weight, lowering high blood pressure, and keeping blood sugar levels stable as we age.

According to the lead study author Nicola McKeown, Scientist with the Nutritional Epidemiology Team at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center: “Eating whole foods as part of a healthy diet provides health benefits beyond simply helping us lose or maintain weight as we age.” And this is a finding worth talking about, such that these data suggest that people who eat more whole grains they are better able to maintain blood sugar and blood pressure over time. Which translates into better management of risk factors that are often associated with conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, and of course, heart disease.

The study was published this week in The Journal of Nutrition, in which researchers followed 3,100 50-year-olds at regular four-year intervals for 18 years. This is very relevant data since this scheme allowed the researchers to track changes in eating habits over time. The findings were compelling: Compared to people who ate less than half their serving of whole grains, people who ate three or more servings a day over time had a greater average decrease in waist measurements and a greater decrease in triglyceride levels during each four-year period.

For more context: a single serving of whole grains is the equivalent of a slice of whole wheat bread, half a cup of oatmeal, or half a cup of brown rice. Also, average increases in blood sugar levels and systolic blood pressure, were also lower in people who ate more whole grains.

Why eat whole grains?

The custom of eating the whole grain is take back the traditions of our ancestors and it is a style of eating that provides a long list of benefits to the body, which are lost when the grain is processed. By this we mean that the flour used in the preparation of white breads, bagels, cakes and numerous processed products, During the refining process it loses the fiber-rich outer layer of the grain. You also lose the inner germ layer which is full of antioxidants, magnesium, potassium, B vitamins, and healthy fats. Sadly, only the starchy part of the grain remains, which does not contain its richness in nutrients and is associated with weight gain.

Therefore, consuming whole grain cereals is a habit that can considerably increase the intake of dietary fiber and provides a powerful satiating effect, which is a great ally to reduce daily calorie intake. One more reason to consume them. In addition, its content of magnesium, potassium and antioxidants can contribute to reducing blood pressure very significantly. Another genius about soluble fiber is that it in particular can have a beneficial effect on blood sugar spikes after meals.

However, the reference data included in the study do not lie and estimate that the average American consumes about five servings of refined grains a day, much more than recommended. The worst thing is not the quantity but the sources of these cereals that are usually processed, therefore an important prevention strategy is to look for ways to replace refined grains with whole grains throughout the day.

Fortunately it is about fully executable changes, which do not symbolize radical adjustments and are sustainable in the long term. For example: bet on replacing with a bowl of whole grain cereal or oatmeal, the typical white flour bagel breakfast. The same thing happens with snacks, entrees, and side dishesComprehensive alternatives are easy to choose, and they will undoubtedly make a big difference over time.

Ancient grains: the best option

During the last decade in the United States and Europe, ancient grains have gained popularity and previously little explored options such as quinoa, farro and amaranth have positioned themselves as an exceptional nutritional ally. They are rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and, of course, fiber. According to information released by the Whole Grains Council, these grains have remained virtually unchanged for the past hundreds of years.

A great recommendation is integrate the consumption of ancient grains into everyday dishes: as a base for salads and ceviches, in breakfasts, in the preparation of homemade bakery, garnishes and soups. While there are some variants that are not as famous as others, The alternatives are varied and are successfully adapted to all tastes. Some good choices are several varieties of wheat: spelled, Khorasan (Kamut) wheat, freekeh, bulgur, farro, einkorn, and emmer; the grains of millet, barley, teff, oats and sorghum; and pseudo-cereals such as quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat and chia seeds.

Undoubtedly, these types of studies actively join the trend that invites us to consume natural, whole foods and free of processing. We are what we eat and through these adjustments we will be able to strengthen the immune system and intestinal flora, prevent diseases and infections, improve mood and physical and mental performance. Don’t wait any longer and go ahead and integrate a generous variety of these rich and ancient grains, they are basic superfoods for prevent the deterioration of health that the aging process brings and a great ally in the prevention of all kinds of chronic diseases related to physical, mental and emotional health.

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