In the world of nutrition, there’s a lot of controversy in almost every area. One of those is whether grains are unhealthy or whether they need to be part of your daily diet. Grains are the seed from plants in the cereal family. They contain three parts; bran, germ and endosperm if they’re whole grain. If they’re processed or refined, only the endosperm, the part containing mostly starchy carbs and some protein, is used. The germ, which is the most nutritious part of the grain, and the bran, containing antioxidants, minerals and fiber, are removed.
Refined grains and flour can be detrimental to your health.
One of the most prevalent causes of preventable death is obesity. There are many factors that have driven obesity to the top of the list, even surpassing smoking. Processed foods, high sugar content and foods made with refined flours are a few. While whole grains are heart healthy, processed grains have nothing to offer but calories. Grain in this form digests quickly and cause spikes in blood sugar levels. They have none of the beneficial effects of whole grains, just the calories and potential for metabolic diseases.
Paleo diets eliminate all grains.
Paleo diets eliminate grains because they claim man has only been cultivating them for 10,000 years and not long enough to change our bodies so we can digest them properly. However, recent findings of starch granules on the teeth of a skull and stone tools used to grind show that man may have been eating grains for as long as 100,000 years, which is more than adequate time for our bodies to evolve. Even if man has been eating grains for a long time, going grain free has its benefits. Some are better digestion, improved digestive microbes, reduction of inflammation, weight loss and improved cholesterol
There are other reasons to avoid or reduce the intake of even whole grains.
Grains contain an enzyme inhibitor. It’s natural and help propagate the seeds. Birds and animals eat grains and those that aren’t crushed, avoid digestion by inhibiting the enzymes required. They’re then passed through in the animal’s stool, where they eventually grow into a plant. Grains can cause digestive problems. They also contain phytic acid, which prevents mineral absorption in the small intestines.
- You can make grains easier to digest by soaking, fermenting and sprouting them. In fact, sprouted grain bread containing no processed flour is extremely good for you.
- High intake of grains may promote tooth decay.
- The grains grown today is far less rich in nutrients than grain from ancient times. In fact, most of the grain today comes from a strain created via genetic manipulation and cross-breeding in the 1960s. It costs less to raise and yields more volume.
- If you want to keep grain in your diet for its health benefits, make it grain products from whole grains, ancient grains or sprouted, soaked or fermented whole grains are the healthiest to have in your diet.