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Whole wheat as part of your healthy way of eating can significantly lower your risk of obesity, heart disease, certain cancers and even type 2 diabetes according to Dietary Guidelines for Americans (MyPyramid.gov).
Women who consume more whole grains consistently weigh less than those who eat less fiber according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Whole Grains are high in insoluble fiber that can help women avoid gallstones according to the American Journal of Gastroenterology. Whole wheat contains lignans, which are a weak hormone-likee substance that protects breasts against high levels of hormones such as estrogen in pre- menopausal women according to the UK Women's Cohort Study. That same study found the same benefits did NOT come from oat bran. Whole wheat and wheat bran also reduces the concentration of bile acids in the stool that are believed to promote colon cancer.
A fiber-rich diet works as a laxative, which helps alleviate constipation, flatulence, distension, pain and even nausea.
Whole grains contain Betaine, which lessens chronic inflammation linked to heart disease, osteoporosis and even Alzheimer's according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Post-menopausal Women eating 1 serving of whole wheat at least six times each week showed a decrease in high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
Whole grains improve insulin sensitivity by lowering the glycemic index of the diet while increasing its content of fiber, magnesium and vitamin E. Many people at risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity have seen lower insulin levels because of the protective effects of whole grains which are rich in magnesium, a mineral that acts as a co- factor in enzymes involved in the body's use of glucose and insulin secretion.
Experts estimate about 1% of Americans have celiac disease. The condition, caused by an abnormal immune response to gluten (two proteins found in most grains) can damage the lining of the small intestine. That, in turn, can prevent important nutrients from being absorbed. The only way to know is to be tested. For those with the disease, even trace amounts can cause damage to the small intestines. There is little point in eliminating just some gluten. Read every label - even processed salad dressings can contain gluten! According to WEBMD.
For the vast majority of us "A gluten-free diet is not necessarily a healthy diet," says Peter HR Green, director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University. "It lacks fiber and, in the case of prepared gluten-free food, it's often more rich in fat and cholesterol. "And any time you eliminate whole categories of food you've been eating, you run the risk of nutritional deficiencies." Says Green. A 2005 report from the American Dietetic Association warned that gluten-free products tend to be low in a wide range of important nutrients, including B vitamins, calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium and fiber. "
"There's nothing in gluten that makes you gain weight," says Karen Ansel, registered dietitian and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. Rather, she says, it's large quantities of refined carbohydrates that are bad for you. Small portions of unrefined carbohydrates like whole-wheat pasta and bread are still considered healthful. In other words, Ansel says, "Whole grains are good."
Carbs have been getting a bad rap since the Atkins Diet and the South Beach Diet. But not all carbs are created equal. Carbs are the body's main source of energy. Carbs are necessary for good brain function - complex carbs that is!
Complex carbs include starch, a form of carbohydrate that plants store and fiber, which is the undigested part of a plant. Grains in the form of bagels and bread, pasta, potatoes, corn and most vegetables.
Does the body care if glucose (sugar/energy) comes from simple or complex carbs? No - but eating simple carbs is like eating "empty" calories. The body doesn't have to work very hard to get the glucose into the bloodstream. You have a quick spike and spiral of energy. Although sugar from fruit may seem like the same as sugar, syrup or honey - fruit is a complex carb full of vitamins and minerals the body needs.
Not all complex carbs are created equal either. Whole grains are not only nutritious they take longer for the body to digest them so you don't have the energy spike and spiral. Try to have 40 percent of your daily caloric intake come from complex carbs. A 1500 calorie diet would mean about 800 of the calories could come from foods rich in complex carbs. For breakfast one toasted Black Hills Bagels Great Grain Bagel (approx 240 calories) an apple (60 calories). Or choose a bagel sandwich loaded with fresh cut healthy veggies for lunch. Add more veggies, fruit, whole grains, rice and whole wheat Pasta through the day. Don't forget the dairy - also good carbs! You will be amazed how your energy level evens out - you feel better and you perform better!
Bagels and cream cheese are both part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's food pyramid. Bagels belong in the grains group, and cream cheese resides in the dairy group. If you eat about 2,000 calories a day, the USDA recommends you have 3 cups of dairy, and the equivalent of 6 oz. of grains. Grains that have high fiber content can help with constipation, and eating bagels or other foods with whole grains may help lower your risk of carotid artery atherosclerosis, as evidenced by a June 2007 study published in "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition." Dairy products, such as cheese and milk, give you protein, calcium and other nutrients.