Food of the month: Whole grains
Whole grains consist of bran, endosperm and germ. The nutritional benefits of wholegrains are all packed mainly in the bran and the germ. It is seen that westernised countries including Singapore consume more refined grains than wholegrains.
Types of wholegrains include:
Wheat, barley, oat, Rye
Corn, brown rice, millet
Wholegrain bread or cereals, quinoa, couscous
Singapore health promotion board (HPB) recommends 2-3 servings (or 50g) of whole grains a day for adults. A substitution of at least 15-20% of refined grains with wholegrains would be recommended if you are new to consuming wholegrains. This is in consideration of achievability at a national level.
Benefits of Whole grains
Low in saturated fat
Good source of carbohydrates
Source of polyunsaturated fats including omega 3
Good source of B vitamins
Good source of minerals (iron, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, zinc)
High in soluble, insoluble fibre & resistance starch
Good source of antioxidants and phytochemicals
Protective chemicals in wholegrains
Lignans: Can lower risk of coronary heart disease
Phytic acid: Reduce glycemic index of foods
Saponins, phytosterols, squalene, oryzanol and tocotrienols: Found to lower blood cholesterol
Phenolic compounds: Antioxidant effect
What happens when wholegrains become refined?
The bran and germ layer are usually removed
Significant loss of vitamins, minerals, fibres, phytochemicals
Refined products generally have high content of sugars, fat and/or salt.
Glycemic index is altered (from low to high).
Some hard facts
The prevalence of chronic diseases associated with low habitual intake of wholegrain foods in Singaporean adults’ aged 18 to 64 years has risen rapidly from 9 to 11.3% (for diabetes) and 6 to 10.8% (for obesity) between 1998 and 2010 respectively
Start including whole grains into your daily life with these simple swaps:
Nevertheless, if this sudden change does not work for you, starting slow is better than not. Use the 50/50 method as a good start.
Look out for our next post on Heart attack.