Whole wheat is extremely high in fiber. Experts agree that a diet high in fiber will go a long way in protecting the body against colon cancer. Fiber effectively assists the body in moving waste through the digestive tract quickly and frequently. This reduces the colons exposure to cancer causing toxins, carcinogens. Increased fiber intake inhibits the growth of polyps. Polyps are growths on the wall of the colon or rectum. They are most often harmless but they have been known to be a precursor to colon cancer.
Researchers have investigated the link between whole wheat and the prevention of breast cancer. Lignans found in whole grains are phytoestrogens, a plant chemical that mimics the estrogen hormone. The phytoestrogens attach themselves to cells in the location that natural estrogens ordinarily would, thus displacing the hormone from the cells. This may prevent the onset of hormone related cancers that depend on estrogens to start and continue to spread.
In addition to the prevention of heart disease, diabetes, and high cholesterol, the consumption of whole wheat has also been linked to maintaining a healthy body weight, the prevention of gallstones, and even a decreased incidence of childhood asthma.
The old adage states that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and modern science is still exploring the many ways this ancient grain is helping the body to heal and function. The recommended daily intake for whole grains is at least three, one-ounce servings a day. As a general rule, at lease half of your grain consumption should come from whole grains. There is an overwhelming amount of evidence in support of whole wheat’s’ healthful properties.
To understand the definition of whole wheat you must first get a better understanding of whole wheat’s’ anatomy. Wheat contains a host of vitamins and minerals and a significant amount of soluble fiber. In order to reap their benefits the wheat must be consumed in its whole state. A whole grain of wheat is comprised of three parts, the endosperm, the bran and the germ.
The endosperm consists of more than 80 percent of the grain. It contains complex carbohydrates and protein. It contains the least amount of vitamins and minerals.
The bran is the outside layer and nearly all of wheat’s fiber is contained within it. This layer is an abundant source of magnesium, riboflavin, thiamine, niacin, iron and zinc.
The germ, or seed, accounts for the smallest part of the grain and it is an excellent source of vitamins B1, B2, B3, E, magnesium, iron, zinc and phosphorous. The B group of vitamins is especially important as they aid in the body’s metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. B vitamins contribute to proper nerve function, maintain skin and mucous membranes, assist in the production of red blood cells and are the backbone to healthy cell function.
When wheat is refined or milled it is stripped of both the bran and the germ. This leaves just the endosperm. Refining the grain robs us of the majority of the wheat’s nutritional value since the bulk of the vitamins and minerals are contained in the germ and bran layers.
Making the switch to whole grain is easy. It is by far one of the most beneficial things that you can do for your overall health.
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