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Health Benefits Wheat—The Whole Truth


The health benefits of wheat depend entirely on the form in which you eat it.


These benefits will be few if you select wheat that has been processed into 60% extraction, bleached white flour. 60% extraction—the standard for most wheat products in the United States, including breads, noodles and pastas, baked goods like rolls or biscuits, and cookies—means that 40% of the original wheat grain was removed, and only 60% is left. Unfortunately, the 40% that gets removed includes the bran, the germ of the wheat grain—its most nutrient-rich parts and the essential oil found in wheat. In the process of making 60% extraction flour, over half of the vitamin B1, B2, B3, E, folic acid, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, iron, and fiber are lost.


Since 1941, laws in the United States have required "enrichment" of processed wheat flour with vitamins B1, B2, B3 and iron in response to the problems created by 60% extraction. Since not nearly as much of these B vitamins and iron are replaced as are removed from 60% extraction flour, "enriched" seems an odd word to describe this process.


If you select 100% whole wheat products, however, the bran, the essential oils and the germ of the wheat will remain in your meals, and the health benefits will be impressive!   Whole wheat (in its original non-enriched form) qualifies as a very good source of dietary fiber and manganese, and as a good source of magnesium.


The many benefits of whole wheat products are being recognized more and more by consumers. Even though many health-conscious individuals have been cutting back on their intake of total carbs and refined wheat products (by about 10% between 1997-2007), the demand for whole wheat products has actually increased during that same time period. This trend fits in well with a Mediterranean diet approach to health, which looks to lower overall carbs but higher whole grains, including whole wheat.

Women Who Eat Whole Grains Weigh Less


A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition underscores the importance of choosing whole rather than refined wheat to maintain a healthy body weight.


In this Harvard Medical School / Brigham and Women's Hospital study, which collected data on over 74,000 female nurses aged 38-63 years over a 12 year period, weight gain was inversely associated with the intake of high-fiber,

whole-grain foods, such as whole wheat, but positively related to the intake of refined-grain foods, such as products made from refined wheat.


Not only did women who consumed more whole grains consistently weigh less than those who ate less of these fiber-rich foods, but those consuming the most dietary fiber from whole grains were 49% less likely to gain weight compared to those eating foods made from refined grains.



Whole Grains Reduce Risk of Metabolic Syndrome


First we were told, "Don't eat fat, and you'll stay trim."


After following this advice only to see obesity expand to never before seen proportions, we're told by the food gurus, "Eating fat is fine. Shun carbohydrates to stay slim."


In our opinion, neither piece of dietary advice is complete, accurate or likely to help us stay slim or healthy.



Just as different kinds of fats have different effects in our bodies (e.g., saturated and trans fats are linked to increased risk for cardiovascular disease while omega-3 fats decrease cardiovascular disease risk), some carbohydrates, such as whole grains, are healthful while others, such as refined grains and the foods made from them, are not.


The latest research is clearly supporting this vital distinction. Refined grains and the foods made from them (e.g., white breads, cookies, pastries, pasta and rice) are now being linked not only to weight gain but to increased risk of insulin resistance (the precursor of type 2 diabetes) and the metabolic syndrome (a strong predictor of both type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease), while eating more whole grain foods is being shown to protect against all these ills.


Common features of the metabolic syndrome include visceral obesity (the "apple shaped" body), low levels of protective HDL cholesterol, high triglycerides, and high blood pressure.


In one of the most recent studies, which appeared in Diabetes Care, researchers who analyzed data on over 2,800 participants in the Framingham Offspring Study, found that the prevalence of both insulin resistance and the metabolic syndrome was significantly lower among those eating the most cereal fiber from whole grains compared to those eating the least.


Prevalence of the metabolic syndrome was 38% lower among those with the highest intake of fiber from whole grains.


Conversely, study subjects whose diets had the highest glycemic index and glycemic load, both of which are typically low in whole foods and high in processed refined foods, were 141% more likely to have the metabolic syndrome compared to those whose diets had the lowest glycemic index and glycemic load. In other words, compared to those whose diets were primarily composed of whole high fiber foods: whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fruits.


The researchers concluded, "Given that both a high cereal fiber content and lower glycemic index are attributes of whole grain foods, recommendation to increase whole grain intake may reduce the risk of developing the metabolic syndrome."


A way of eating that relies on the healthiest foods from all the food groups—the whole foods that contain the healthiest fats, carbohydrates and proteins—is the most effective, intelligent, and most enjoyable way to not only lower your risk of developing the metabolic syndrome, but to stay slim, vital and attractive throughout a long and healthy life.



Whole Grains Substantially Lower Type 2 Diabetes Risk


Whole grains are a rich source of magnesium, a mineral that acts as a co-factor for more than 300 enzymes, including enzymes involved in the body's use of glucose and insulin secretion.


The FDA permits foods that contain at least 51% whole grains by weight (and are also low in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol) to display a health claim stating consumption is linked to lower risk of heart disease and certain cancers. Now, research suggests regular consumption of whole grains also reduces risk of type 2 diabetes. (van Dam RM, Hu FB, Diabetes Care).


In this 8-year trial, involving 41,186 particpants of the Black Women's Health Study, research data confirmed inverse associations between magnesium, calcium and major food sources in relation to type 2 diabetes that had already been reported in predominantly white populations.


Risk of type 2 diabetes was 31% lower in black women who frequently ate whole grains compared to those eating the least of these magnesium-rich foods. When the women's dietary intake of magnesium intake was considered by itself, a beneficial, but lesser-19%-reduction in risk of type 2 diabetes was found, indicating that whole grains offer special benefits in promoting healthy blood sugar control.


Daily consumption of low-fat dairy foods was also helpful, lowering risk of type 2 diabetes by 13%.


"Our results support public health recommendations to replace refined grains with whole grains and suggest that at least two servings of whole grains per day should be consumed to reduce type 2 diabetes risk."

reference: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10654-013-9852-5

November 2013, Volume 28, Issue 11, pp 845-858
Date: 25 Oct 2013




A "Germ" that Promotes Health


Wheat bran is not the only star when it comes to the health benefits of wheat; wheat germ definitely deserves its "health food" reputation.


The germ is the vitamin and mineral rich embryo of the wheat kernel that is removed during the refining of whole wheat grains to white flour.


Packed with important B vitamins, such as folate, thiamin, and vitamin B6, and the minerals zinc, magnesium, and manganese, wheat germ is a top-notch food that can be easily incorporated into casseroles, muffins, and pancakes or sprinkled over cereal or yogurt.


The wheat germ also has a high oil content, and subsequently a high amount of vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that helps protect the oil in the wheat germ from quickly becoming rancid. Vitamin E functions in a similar manner as a fat-soluble antioxidant in the human body where it helps protect fat-containing substances including cell membranes, brain cells, and fatty molecules such as cholesterol from damage by free radicals.


Fats and cholesterol are very susceptible to free radical damage, a process that occurs when they are exposed to oxygen. When damaged, fats and cholesterol form toxic derivatives that, if left unchecked, can damage the structures of which they are a part and, in the case of cholesterol, contribute to the formation of atherosclerosis, a form of coronary artery disease. Vitamin E, when present in sufficient quantities, readily blocks these toxic derivatives.


Vitamin E not only protects fats, cholesterol and all cell membranes from damage, it is also important for immune system function, cancer prevention and blood glucose control in both healthy and diabetic individuals.





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The above information on this page is, in fair part, found on the website:  The World's Healthiest Foods website.  Found Penny Farm seeks no monetary gain from making this information available on it's site.  This information is for educational purposes only.  Readers are encouraged to not only continue research on this topic but also to consult their physicians regarding any medical conditions or issues which may arise from their dietary choices.


This site does not attempt to diminish viewship of the original website from which this information came. Graphics, images and emphasis are not part of the original texts.  I encourage all readers to continue research into the health benefits of whole grain foods by visiting the website noted below:

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=66

For the rest of this excellent compilation of information on wheat - - please visit the site:  http://www.whfoods.com/ 

The George Mateljan Foundation, a not-for-profit foundation with no commercial interests or advertising, is a new force for change to help make a healthier you and a healthier world.

The World's Healthiest Foods website is a leading source of information and expert on the Healthiest Way of Eating and Cooking. It's one of the most visited website on the internet when it comes to "Healthiest Foods" and "Healthiest Recipes" and comes up #1 on a Google search for these phrases.