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Whole Grain Benefits

Whole grains vs refined grains: Which is better for you?

Whether it’s the “slightly different” taste or a “worth considering option”, many people have included whole grains as part of their daily diet. Whole grain products are considered extremely healthy and are diverse. In India rajgira or amaranth, kuttu or buckwheat, sabudana or pearl sago, lapsi or broken wheat or dalia, barley or sattu or jau, ragi or Finger millet, Bajra or pearl millet, jowar or sorghum are some varieties that are easy to find.

“I started consuming Kodri, a whole grain that is pressure cooked like rice, looks like Dalia, but is more filling. I also have homemade multigrain thalipeeth and ragi chips to satisfy unwanted food cravings, ”said Priyamvada Mangal from Mumbai. “It’s part of our tradition and is also considered healthier than grains like rice – which makes it an option (worth trying),” said Vignesh Raghupathy from Chennai, who enjoys Ragi Dosa and Bajra or Kamba Dosa once in a few days.

And then there is Chhavi Auplish, who switched to whole grain products as part of an experiment. “Since we’ve been eating white rice and wheat since we were children, whole grains may taste a little different, but it’s a welcome change,” says Auplish, who eats oats. millet, Barley and Ragi, said.

Call it a health concern or just a change, whole grains are gradually regaining their lost appeal; This goes to nutritionists and experts who stress the need to eat “whole and local foods”. “Our ancestors always ate whole grains like bajra, jowar, millet, ragi, khapli, hand milled rice, whole grains, etc., but over time we have changed due to western influence and busy lifestyles (because whole grains take time to cook) removed from our roots and started consuming nifty variations because they seem to have better texture and shelf life, ”Luke Coutinho, holistic lifestyle coach for integrative medicine, told

What are whole grains?

Whole grains are basically the grain of any grain that contains germs, bran, and endosperm. This also includes pseudograins such as Buckwheat, Broken wheat, bulgur wheat, millet, and whole grains such as ready-to-eat cereals, said Alpa Momaya, senior nutritionist at HealthifyMe. “And they are among the first to be cultivated by mankind. These may have been around as early as 9000 BC. Chr. “, Said head chef Sanjeev Kapoor on his website.

According to an article published in the Journal of the Association of Physicians of India ( Whole Grains and Health: Perspective for Asian Indians (, whole grains are shown to be “low in calories and high in nutrients” at risk Type 2 diabetes“Heart diseases such as high cholesterol and obesity”.

Why are they considered better?

“Because of our sedentary lifestyle, highly refined grains caused diseases of civilization compared to our ancestors, who did more physical work. The nutritional value of the grain also decreases when it is refined, which in turn causes metabolic disorders, ”said Dr. Manjunath Sukumaran, holistic health coach, head trainer and founder of Harmony Wellness Concepts, who is in favor of a full switch to full grain for the prevention and relief of lifestyle problems such as blood pressure, diabetes or weight gain, in his Facebook videos.

Bran, the outermost layer, is rich in fiber and an important group of B-complex vitamins and minerals such as iron, folic acid and magnesium. Coutinho mentioned that bran, germ-containing fiber, essential vitamins and trace elements such as B vitamin, zinc, manganese, boron are needed by our body for health and immunity. “When these grains are grafted, the fiber and nutrients are removed. So while a whole grain offers the benefit of fiber, which benefits our blood sugar levels, satiety factor, and lipids, refined varieties don’t, and then we call rice bad for weight and diabetes“, Explained Coutinho.

Foods like white rice and refined wheat have one high glycemic index (GI) – the rate at which blood sugar levels rise after eating food. “Foods with a high GI lead to an increase in the level of insulin in the blood. Continuous consumption of white foods (white rice, sugar, and refined wheat flour) can lead to insulin resistance (type 2 diabetes) in the long run, ”said Momaya.

How does the whole grain mechanism work for the body?

“A high-fiber diet will keep your digestive system clean and active by adding weight to your stool. It also helps lower cholesterol by preventing cholesterol from being absorbed into the bloodstream. High-fiber foods also help maintain insulin levels in the body as they take time to break down in the digestive tract. A slower breakdown of food ensures that there is no increase in insulin after a meal, ”said Momaya.

Instead of a “3G or 4G diet or a three-grain or four-grain diet”, Dr. Sukumaran anyone starting all day (breakfast and lunch) with a single grain diet and for dinner without grain, ideally three hours before bed. “A high intake of grain throughout the day made the digestive process more cumbersome. In addition, there is the quality of grains such as wheat and rice, which interrupt our metabolism due to the low-fiber diet. Instead, it’s time to go for whole grains that are high in fiber and support your metabolism, ”said Dr. Sukumaran and listed some options for cereal-free dinner such as soup or salads or Egg pizza.

What should you watch out for when adding whole grain products?

Most people today choose instant oatmeal as their breakfast option because they are convenient. However, instant oats have little or no nutritional value and can cause blood sugar spikes, experts argue. Real benefits can be obtained from oat groats or steel-cut oats, said Coutinho.

However, whole grains can be prepared in a similar way to your regular meals. For example, you can replace normal rice with millet and chopped vegetables, normal wheat roti can be mixed with another flour in a ratio of 1: 4, or you can opt for a multigrain flour, said Momaya. “You can make meals more colorful and attractive by adding different colored vegetables that can be eaten 3-4 times a week. It is recommended that these changes be made gradually, “she said, adding,” a mix of regular wheat and rice would help improve compliance. “

Adding herbs and spices like cilantro and garlic to rice dishes can improve their flavor, or toasted peanuts and sesame seeds to your breakfast dishes can give them that extra crispness, suggested Momaya.

*millet and ragi can be made into a cheela with a vegetable filling or a simple dosa.
* Khus khus (poppy seeds) can be used to make upma with vegetables.
* Millet can be used to make a regular vegetable pulao and served with vegetable raita.
* Rotis can be made from millet.
* Grains like Andean millet, Bajra or Jowar can be prepared as a bhakri and served with sabji. You can add seasonal veggies to it and serve with yogurt for a complete combination high in fiber and protein.
* Oats can be made into a pulp and served with some chopped dried fruit and nuts, or you can make oat and vegetable idli / porridge or oat roti.

Whole wheat flour is mainly used for making Indian breads such as roti, phulka, parantha and puri. “It’s also used in baked goods, although it’s not always the main ingredient. This is because it adds a certain heaviness that prevents the dough from rising as high as it does with refined flour. Therefore, it is often mixed with refined flour, ”Kapoor said on his website. But this can be remedied if enough water is added to the dough and kneaded longer to develop enough gluten, he recommended. “Also, if the dough is allowed to rise twice before the resulting baked product is shaped, it can be light as needed. Add fats such as butter or oil, and dairy products such as milk alone or buttermilk or yoghurt can also help the dough rise significantly. “

Are whole grains suitable for everyone?

Since whole grains come with their outer layers, it is necessary to choose those that are grown ethically without chemicals or we could risk arsenic poisoning. “In addition, certain whole grain products with a higher fiber content such as Bajra or Jowar may sometimes not be suitable for people with weak and inflamed intestines with irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease and may irritate the intestinal lining. “You have to make an informed decision and choose either other alternatives or sprouted varieties that can also improve digestibility,” advised Coutinho.

Is the price of whole grains off-putting, considering that a kilogram of wheat can cost 20 rupees while whole grains cost 60 rupees for the same amount? “When demand is low, costs rise because farmers and sellers also have to secure and earn a living. Nowadays, whole grains can have a higher price tag, but that’s why it is necessary to remember the way our ancestors used them, ”said Coutinho.

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