Wheat is among the most common kinds of food we eat. It’s used to make both hard and soft flours which can then be used to make things like bread and pasta or cookies and pancakes, respectively. You may hear some people claim that you need to limit your grains or that gluten is something that should be avoided, but the truth is that unless you have an intolerance or allergy, grains and gluten offer more benefits than anything else.
Making sure you get the proper amount of nutrition in your diet is essential, and wheat can help you accomplish that easier than ever considering all the benefits you can enjoy. Here are the five top health benefits of wheat to keep in mind the next time you’re wondering whether or not you should choose the whole grain option at the market.
Fiber and Nutrients
Whole Wheat contains an impressive amount of fiber which goes a long way to help your overall digestion. This works in two distinct ways. It’s commonly known that fiber helps prevent constipation, but it can also have a prebiotic effect which helps support the good bacteria in your digestive system. This will help your body break down food and absorb the necessary nutrients easier.
Speaking of nutrients, wheat is packed full of them. In terms of vitamins, vitamin B is particularly prevalent which helps with maintaining the health of your cells and providing you with enough energy to function throughout the day. You’ll also find assorted minerals like zinc, iron and magnesium along with a sufficient amount of protein and antioxidants.
Reduced Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke
Among the most common fears people face when it comes to their health is suffering from a heart attack or a stroke. Heart disease kills roughly a quarter of all the people who die in a given year with heart attacks happening as frequently as one every 40 seconds. When facing that kind of risk, it’s best to mitigate your chances whenever you can. Turns out, wheat is actually pretty great according to most studies, one of which found that grains in general decrease your risk by about 22%.
While strokes aren’t as common as heart attacks, they still fall within the same vein involving a blood clot in the brain as opposed to in the heart. Wheat helps to prevent strokes through its fiber, vitamin K and numerous antioxidants. In fact, sufficient wheat in one’s diet has been associated with a 14% decrease in risk of stroke.
Reduced Risk of Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes
One of the best parts about having enough fiber in your diet is that it’s easier to feel full. This goes a long way to prevent overeating, which is one of the most common causes of obesity. There’s a reason high-fiber diets are recommended for weight loss. There are even studies that suggest eating whole grain products daily in proper servings can directly lead to less belly fat.
Type 2 diabetes often creeps up right alongside obesity and can severely impact one’s health. Because of this, decreasing your risk of obesity will also decrease your risk of acquiring type 2 diabetes. It’s important to keep in mind, though, that while obesity may be a risk factor for diabetes, it’s not the only factor. Insulin sensitivity and blood sugar levels play a major role as well, but the magnesium found in wheat can help keep that at regular and healthy levels since carbohydrates are more easily metabolized.
Reduces Chronic Inflammation
Inflammation is the foundation for numerous chronic diseases as your body’s immune system works to burn out the foreign invaders and harmful substances. While it can be helpful, inflammation can be a nightmare to deal with if it happens chronically, and it can go so far as to be downright dangerous for your health. Eventually, too much inflammation can lead to tissue death and severe damage that will change your body forever.
Wheat innately contains an anti-inflammatory property, so you’ll have some extra help fighting against chronic inflammation and preventing it from becoming a problem in the first place. Additionally, its anti-inflammatory properties mixed with its vitamin E, zinc and selenium can help keep your skin in good condition even after it’s been ravaged by chronic inflammation.
While wheat itself can’t act as a treatment for cancer, it goes a long way to help mitigate the risk factors for cancers like breast cancer and colon cancer. In fact, wheat is generally adept at promoting women’s health in general. The preventative measures against obesity are always applicable, but women can also benefit from the extra vitamin B when pregnant or breastfeeding.
A poorly kept digestive tract is one of the biggest risk factors for colon cancer, but the high fiber in wheat will help keep yours functioning the way it should. It doesn’t stop there, however, as the phytonutrients from lignans found in wheat can act as hormones that will stunt the growth of any tumors.
Add More Wheat To Your Diet
The benefits of wheat are abundant, so don’t wait to add more to your diet. At the California Wheat Commission, we’re dedicated to ensuring as many people as possible can enjoy all the benefits wheat can offer. Contact us today to learn more about our research and how we strive to improve the quality of wheat to squeeze as much of these benefits out of it as we can.