Health Benefits of Wheat
Wheat is probably the most common cereal available all over the world and today is even more in demand for its abundant health benefits. Through decades, wheat has been one of the major cereals crops in the world. Wheat has originated from south-western Asia, however today it is grown almost all over the world. Common wheat cultivation is done at higher latitudes and it is primarily used for baking breads.
Foods like bread, pasta, crackers, bagels, cakes, and muffins are just a few common examples of wheat sources. Wheat is believed to be the most wholesome food items, ensuring a diet rich in nutrients.
Researches have already proved that wheat is extremely beneficial for healthy living. Wheat considerably lowers the hazards of heart diseases, owing to its comparitively low fat content.It also regulates blood glucose in diabetic patients.
Wheat shall give you immense energy through all its parts of the grain kernel, including bran, germ, and endosperm. The nutrient value of wheat is retained even after making flour. However, it is said that if you wish to get the maximum benefit wheat, it’s advisable to choose wheat products that are made from whole wheat flour rather than the refined ones.
Forms of wheat nutrition
The health benefits of wheat greatly depend on the form in which the individual consumes it. While whole wheat is extremely nutritious, the benefits of wheat are reduced if you eat bleached white flour which is obtained by processing after 60% extraction from the grain. In United States, most wheat products undergo 60% extraction; for example in noodles, breads and pastas, baked goods like rolls or biscuits and cookies. In these foods 40% of the original wheat grain was removed, and you get only the remaining 60%. Usually the 40% that is removed – the outer brown layer - contains the highly nutritious bran and the germ of the wheat grain. In the process of making 60% abstraction flour, more than half of vitamin B1, B2, B3, E, calcium, phosphorus, folic acid, copper, zinc, iron, and fiber are relinquished. If you buy 100% whole wheat products, you are assured of all the nutrients of the bran and the germ.
With passing days, the nutrient value of whole wheat is being acknowledged more by consumers. Low carb diet and increased whole wheat cereals are prevalent especially in the Mediterranean. Like the whole wheat, wheat germ is a rich source of nutrients. Wheat germ is abundant in vitamins and minerals but it is specifically rich in vitamin E. Wheat germ is known to be the prime source of vitamin B, such as thiamin, folic acid, vitamin B6 and minerals like manganese, magnesium, and zinc. The wheat germ oil improves strength and increases longevity.
Nutritional value of wheat
Wheat is rich in catalytic elements, mineral salts, calcium, magnesium, potassium, sulfur, chlorine, arsenic, silicon, manganese, zinc, iodide, copper, vitamin B, vitamin E and ferments. Thereby, you can call wheat as the base foundation of nourishment. Issues like anemia, demineralization, gallstones, breast cancer, chronic inflammation, obesity, asthenia, tuberculosis, pregnancy problems and breastfeeding problems are smartly dealt by whole wheat. Wheat is also recommended in sterility. Since, germinated wheat comprises 2 or 3 times more vitamin B than common wheat; the seeds are used for curing gastro-intestinal, skin diseases, breathing affections and cardiovascular ailments. Wheat is also known to fight cholesterol.
Health benefits of wheat
Controls obesity (especially in women): Wheat has a natural property of controlling weight amongst all; however this fact is more reflected amongst women. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has assured through research that whole wheat rather than refined wheat is a good choice for obese patients. The women who consumed whole wheat products at a stretch showed considerable weight loss over the period than the others.
Checks metabolic syndrome: Saturated and Trans-fats increase the chances of cardiovascular diseases. While omega-3 fats decrease cardiovascular disease risk; whole grains like wheat is immensely effective on patients with metabolic disorders. Common types of the metabolic syndrome comprise visceral obesity or also known as the "apple shaped" body, high triglycerides, low levels of protective HDL cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Wheat protects against all these ills. Researches have said that foods made from refined grains not only tend to gain weight but also increases the hazards of insulin resistance. Doctors recommend eating whole wheat bread and other fiber rich foods. Majority of fiber is difficult to be digested that increases the body's efforts, breaking down the fiber and improving metabolism. Having a whole wheat diet is probably the most effective, quick, and enjoyable way to lower down the metabolic syndrome, but also to stay slim and healthy life long.
Prevents type 2 diabetes: Wheat is rich in magnesium, which is a mineral acting as a co-factor for more than 300 enzymes. These enzymes are involved in the body's functional use of insulin and glucose secretion. The FDA permits that the foods that contain whole grain by at least 51% weight and are also low in saturated fat, and cholesterol assures lower risk of coronary ailments and certain types of cancer. Moreover, regular consumption of whole grain wheat promotes healthy blood sugar control. People who are suffering from diabetes are able to keep their sugar levels under control by replacing rice with wheat in their diet.
Reduces chronic inflammation: The betaine content of wheat assures the prevention of chronic inflammation. Betaine is usually found in whole wheat, beets and spinach. Inflammation is a key constituent in most types of Rheumatic pains and also some rheumatic diseases. Thus, it is prudent to eat a good amount of whole wheat food products that reduces inflammation. Consumption of betaine lowers down many elements in our body that assures to lower the hazards of chronic inflammation and also other ailments like osteoporosis, heart disease, Alzheimer's, cognitive decline, and type-2 diabetes. Source: "Medical botany: plants affecting human health" by Walter Hepworth Lewis, Memory P. F. Elvin-Lewis
Prevents gallstones: In various surveys by American Journal of Gastroenterology it has been proved that breads and cereals made from whole wheat help women avoid gallstones. Since whole wheat is rich in insoluble fiber it assures quick and smooth intestinal transit time and lowers down the secretion of bile acids. Excessive bile acids are a major cause of gallstone formation. Moreover intake of wheat increases insulin sensitivity and thereby lowers triglycerides or the blood fats. Besides wheat, you also get insoluble fiber from edible skin of fruits and some vegetables like cucumbers, tomatoes and squash, berries, apples, and pears. Beans also provide both insoluble and soluble fiber.
Whole grain wheat assures a healthy lifestyle: Wheat is the most popular and easily available bulk laxative. Three cups of wheat consumption per day is enough for an individual to get a long, healthy and disease free life. When you are into a fiber-rich diet comprising wheat breads and cereals high in bran, be sure that problems like pain, flatulence, nausea, constipation, and distension will be alleviated within no time. Diverticular disease often occurs due to inflammation and lower intestinal pains. This again leads to chronic constipation and unnecessary straining again results in a sac or pouch in the wall of the colon. Such cases can be easily dealt naturally by entering a fiber rich diet and including whole grain wheat on regular basis.
Promotes women's gastrointestinal health: Benefits of wheat bran are bountiful and promoting overall women’s health is yet another important role of this cereal food. Wheat acts as an anti-cancer agent, especially in women. Wheat bran enhances the metabolism rate of estrogen, which again leads to breast cancer if in excess. In one of the surveys with pre-menopausal women in the age group of twenty to fifty ate three to four high fiber muffins per day made from wheat, showed reduced blood estrogen levels by 17% in just 2 months span. The other group of women eating corn bran did not show this result.
Wheat contains contain lignans, phytonutrients acting as hormone-like substances. The lignans often occupy the hormone receptors of our body, thereby alleviating the hazards of breast cancer. This effectively checks down the high circulating levels of estrogen. Wheat increases the metabolism rate of estrogen and protects women against one of the key factors of cancer death. Wheat bran considerably reduces bile acid secretion and bacterial enzymes in the stool, thereby cutting down chances of colon cancer. If you include bread, pasta, and bran cereals in your everyday diet, these ailments will not bother you.
Protective against breast cancer: Research at the UK Women's Cohort Study has found that fiber rich diet is extremely important for women to keep breast cancers at a bay. Foods from whole grains like wheat and fruits provide significant safeguard to pre-menopausal women against breast cancer. Studies say that around 30 grams of wheat daily is enough for women to reduce the risks of breast cancer. Reports say pre-menopausal women who have consumed wheat specifically had a 41% reduced risk of breast cancer in comparison to others who ate other forms of fiber.
Prevents childhood asthma: American Lung Association says that around 20 million Americans face immense trouble for asthma. Studies have stated that whole grains and fish diet can lower the chances of childhood asthma to a great extent. International Study on Allergy and Asthma in Childhood have proved through studies that wheat diet has the capacity to lower down the asthma possibilities to almost 50%. During the survey, wheat diet was increased considerably and the mothers were given special data on high intakes of fish and whole grains; this showed almost 66% reductions in the possibility of being asthmatic.
Bronchial hyperresponsiveness is the key factor that encourages asthma. This situation means narrowing of the airways and increased sensitivity. In many surveys, it has been seen that children who take wheat and fish in high amount do not suffer from such ailments. The magnesium and vitamin E provided by wheat contributes additionally in lowering the troubles of asthma. However, in some cases wheat consumption may be harmful for asthma patients, since wheat also happens to be a food allergen linked with asthma. Once doctors are done with the diagnosis, you shall be aware of your diet limitations.
Protects against coronary diseases: Plant lignans, a type of phytonutrient is abundant in whole wheat. These lignans are converted by responsive flora in the human intestines into mammalian lignans. One of such lignans is called the enterolactone, which protects against breast and other hormone-dependent cancers as well as heart disease. Other than wheat, nuts, seeds and berries are also rich sources of plant lignans, vegetables, fruits, and beverages like coffee, tea and wine. One of the Danish journals published in its recent articles that women eating the most whole grains were found to have considerably higher blood levels of this defensive lignan.
Improves cardiovascular system in postmenopausal women: Whole wheat is supposed to be the prime element in the diet of a post-menopausal woman to avoid any kind of cardiovascular problem. 6 times each week is an especially good intake of this whole grain cereal to avoid such ailments. Doctors prescribe a high wheat intake diet for women who confront high blood pressure high cholesterol, or other signs of cardiovascular syndromes. A survey has concluded that this kind of diet slows down the progression of atherosclerosis, building of plaques (excess of plaques narrows the blood vessels), and progression in stenosis.
Prevents heart attack: In United States, heart failure has been the prime cause of hospitalization of elderly people. The medicinal drugs have been successful in certain cases and to some extent, but natural remedies works much fast and smoothly. Hospitals use ACE inhibitors and beta-blockers and the further diagnosis also remains vague. Whole grain products and dietary fiber have shown considerable reduction in blood pressure levels, thereby checking the possibilities of heart attack. Of course the confounding factors like age, alcohol consumption, smoking, exercise and proper nutritious diet is equally important. Ample vitamins, vegetables and fruits are extremely important in such cases as well. The start of your day can be both healthy and tasty with a daily morning bowl of whole grain. There are various forms in which you can serve wheat like bread, puddings and so on.
Thus the benefits of wheat are no longer unknown, and people all over the world have actually experienced them by including wheat in their daily diet. This "health food" reputation has come with important B vitamins, such as thiamin, folate, and vitamin B6, and the minerals magnesium, zinc, and manganese content. Wheat can be easily integrated into cakes, burritos, brownies, waffles, bread, muffins, patties and pancakes or simply sprinkled over your favorite cereal or yogurt.
There are some limitations to wheat consumption as well. If you are susceptible to allergic reactions, whole wheat consumption can enhance your allergies, such as hives, itching, skin rash, and eczema. Thus, it is advised to check with your physician if at all you are safe from wheat. Whole wheat contains oxalate, which are the naturally-occurring substances in animals, plants, and human beings. Too much oxalate in body fluids can lead to crystallization, thereby causing health problems.
How to cook wheat?
You can consume wheat in a host of ways, some of the easiest and tasty one including sandwiches and bread. Wheat flakes at breakfast is undoubtedly a delicious and appetizing choice. You can also use sprouted wheat berries in vegetable and various kinds of grain salads. This would make way for yummy options during your meals. Opt for whole wheat pita breads for your pizza crust. If you are on a pasta treat, ensure its whole wheat pasta. You find it in different forms like spaghetti, spirals and penne. In India, wheat is consumed in the form of breads called roti or chapatti.