Whole grain has been recognized as healthy food as early as the 1800s. Researchers have found more and more benefits from whole grain intake since then, including protection against obesity, diabetes, CVD, and cancer. A 2016 study concludes a supportive link between whole grain intake and reproductive health.
Whole grain promotes optimal health
The mechanism on the beneficial effects of whole grain is built upon the structure and nutrition facts.
The structure of whole grain results in slower digestion and thus a more steady and lower blood sugar level.
The key bioactive nutrients, especially in bran and germ, include fiber, minerals, trace elements vitamins, carotenoids, polyphenols, and alkylresorcinols are involved in varies protective bioactivities of the human body, including cell signaling, gene regulation, cardiovascular, lipid metabolism, DNA methylation, nervous system and mental health, skeleton health.
Most of the key nutrients are removed in the refining process
Grain refine process removes bran and germ from whole grain and at the same time removes a big portion of above nutrients from grain:
- 100% of isoflavones are removed
- Most of the minerals are removed
- Most of the vitamins are removed
- Most of the fiber is removed
- Most of the fats are removed
- Up to 42% of amino acids are removed
A comparison of key nutrients between refined wheat flour and whole grain flour based on the same serving amount is listed in the following table (data source from USDA Food Composition Databases).
Loss of key nutrients in refined wheat flour comparing to the same amount of whole grain
Whole grain boosts fertility
Besides the widely known vitamins and minerals, whole grains are also rich in another important nutrient for productive health -vitamin B8. Recent research showed promising clinical results of vitamin B8 –myo- inositol intake for treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). 75% of the patient with infertility had ovulation restored and 15% of the patients successfully conceived within 3 months of use.
Whole grain is beneficial for male semen quality because they are fully packed with antioxidants and micronutrients, such as zinc, vitamin E, vitamin B, and folate. A research study found the intake of whole grain is positively associated with progressive sperm motility.
Whole grain is an important part of a healthy diet
Eating whole grain is recommended for optimal health including reproductive system health.
Definition of whole grain is grains that consist of the intact, ground, cracked or flaked caryopsis, whose principal anatomical components – the starchy endosperm, germ, and bran – are present in the same relative proportions as they exist in the intact caryopsis – should be considered a whole grain food. Make sure to look at ingredient labels when you are purchasing whole grain. Some manufactures use whole grain term while the product is actually only a whole grain blend containing only a portion of whole grain. Following are some examples,
Following are some whole grains that you’ll probably find at your supermarket, and online retailers:
- Brown rice
- Whole-wheat flour
- Rye flour
- Bulgur (steamed and dried cracked wheat)
Cooking whole grains does not have to be difficult and time-consuming, and cooking technics are almost the same as refined grains. It’s always easy to find recipes online with a simple search.