Benefits of Whole Wheat

Benefits of Whole Wheat:

Description

Wheat is ubiquitious in our culture in the food culture of North America as well as other regions around the world. Bread, pasta, bagels, crackers, cakes, and muffins just begin to describe the list of foods made with this grain.

Wheat is generally classified as being either spring or winter wheat. Within these two groups, the wheat can be further defined as being either hard or soft, depending upon the grain's texture. The colors of the grains of wheat are white or red with reflections of amber.

Wheat, in its natural unrefined state, features a host of important nutrients. Therefore, to receive benefit from the wholesomeness of wheat you need to choose wheat products made from whole wheat flour rather than those that are refined and stripped of their natural goodness.

The genus name for wheat, from which all wheat species are derived, is Triticum.

Nutritional Benefits

Whole wheat refers to an unaltered and unrefined version of wheat crop. Wheat is one of the most important food sources in the world. It is made into a variety of products such as breads, pastas and desserts (such as cookies and cakes). While wheat is nutritious and particularly rich in protein and various vitamins and minerals, its nutrient content depends largely on the form that it takes. The entire array of wheat nutrients can be enjoyed if the grain is used in its whole form, if products are made from whole wheat flour. However, the standard form of wheat flour used in the majority of pastas and baked goods is processed into 60 percent extraction. Refining wheat into 60 percent extraction means that as much as 40 percent of the original grain, including the germ and the bran, has been removed, so that only 60 percent remains. Unfortunately, the 40 percent that is stripped contains half of all the fiber, vitamins and minerals of wheat. Products made from whole wheat are recommended because these still possess the natural and nutritious goodness of wheat.

The serving size of whole wheat is usually set at 100 grams. The following are details regarding the nutritional value of whole wheat.

Total Calories

A serving of wheat contains about 340 calories, most of which are derived form carbohydrates. Fats contribute less than five percent to the total caloric content of wheat. Studies show that high-fiber, whole grain products like wheat are associated with lower weight gain compared to refined products.

Carbohydrates and Fiber

A serving of wheat provides 73 grams of carbohydrates or 25 percent of the daily requirement. More importantly, the carbohydrate content of wheat has about 12 grams of fiber and a low glycemic index. The glycemic index indicates how fast sugars are absorbed from the digestive tract to the bloodstream. The low glycemic index of wheat means that sugars and carbohydrates are not absorbed rapidly, thus preventing sudden rises and fluctuations in blood sugar.

If your diet has high-fiber content and low glycemic indices, you are less likely to develop diabetes mellitus, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease. The high-fiber content of wheat also prevents constipation, and protects against gallbladder stones and various cancers.

Proteins

Wheat is moderately rich in proteins. A serving contains about 14 grams of proteins, equivalent to about 27 percent of the daily requirement.

Fat and Cholesterol

Wheat is particularly low in fat. A serving contains no more than 2 grams of fat, none of which are of the saturated type.

Minerals

Whole wheat has very high amounts of the antioxidant trace metals, manganese and selenium (> 100 percent daily value). The health-promoting properties of whole wheat are due to moderately high amounts of iron for red blood cell production, potassium for normal brain function, magnesium for maintenance of a healthy heart, phosphorus for teeth and bone formation, zinc for an improved immune system and copper for absorption of iron.

Vitamins

Whole wheat is a very rich source of the B vitamins: B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin) and B3 (niacin). These vitamins are vital cofactors in a variety of metabolic pathways.

Health Benefits

Whole wheat is a very good source of dietary fiber and manganese. It is also a good source of magnesium.

In-Depth Nutritional Profile

In addition to the nutrients highlighted in our ratings chart, an in-depth nutritional profile for Whole wheat is also available. This profile includes information on a full array of nutrients, including carbohydrates, sugar, soluble and insoluble fiber, sodium, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids and more.

Introduction to Food Rating System Chart

In order to better help you identify foods that feature a high concentration of nutrients for the calories they contain, we created a Food Rating System. This system allows us to highlight the foods that are especially rich in particular nutrients. The following chart shows the nutrients for which this food is either an excellent, very good, or good source (below the chart you will find a table that explains these qualifications). If a nutrient is not listed in the chart, it does not necessarily mean that the food doesn't contain it. It simply means that the nutrient is not provided in a sufficient amount or concentration to meet our rating criteria. (To view this food's in-depth nutritional profile that includes values for dozens of nutrients - not just the ones rated as excellent, very good, or good - please use the link below the chart.) To read this chart accurately, you'll need to glance up in the top left corner where you will find the name of the food and the serving size we used to calculate the food's nutrient composition.

This serving size will tell you how much of the food you need to eat to obtain the amount of nutrients found in the chart. Now, returning to the chart itself, you can look next to the nutrient name in order to find the nutrient amount it offers, the percent Daily Value (DV%) that this amount represents, the nutrient density that we calculated for this food and nutrient, and the rating we established in our rating system. For most of our nutrient ratings, we adopted the government standards for food labeling that are found in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's "Reference Values for Nutrition Labeling."

Consumption Tips

  • The simplest yet tasteful whole wheat preparation comprises of sandwiches of the whole wheat bread. They are good for health and also taste delicious.
  • Another delicious and appetizing breakfast choice is to have wheat flakes. They are similar to rolled oats and can be prepared as hot breakfast cereal.
  • You can opt for sprouted wheat berries in vegetable and grain salads. This would make way for yummy eating option.
  • Instead of using refined grain, you can opt for whole wheat pita breads as the crust for making pizzas.
  • For those who are in love with pasta, try the whole wheat pasta treat. They are available in different types, such as spaghetti, spirals and penne and would suit your recipe needs perfectly.

Caution

Based on Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations, a food manufacturer may choose to include a health claim that links a diet rich in whole grains to reduced risk of heart disease and some types of cancer. To qualify for this claim, a product must contain all portions of the grain kernel, contain at least 51 percent whole grain by weight per reference amount customarily consumed, and meet specified levels for fat, cholesterol, and sodium.

Learn about Whole Wheat. Use Food That Heal App.

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