Whole grains are simply the grains of various crops that still contain all the edible parts. This means that, after milling, they contain all three parts of the grain (bran, endosperm and germ) in their original proportions. Wholegrain foods are important for our diet because they contain more than fiber; they’re also packed with protein, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other plant nutrients.
What are the benefits?
There is strong scientific evidence that whole grains are protective against chronic diseases like cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, obesity and cancer.
CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE (CVD): CVD accounts for close to 44% of deaths in Europe (men) and 38% (women), but whole grains are good for heart health and it only takes 3 servings per day to reduce the risk of developing CVD by 30%.
OBESITY: Close to 15% of the Belgian population has a Body Mass Index (BMI) above 30. In the UK it is 25% of the population and the US comes close to 40%. The statistics for children are also alarming. Evidence shows that a diet rich in whole grains can control weight gain and obesity.
CANCER: In Europe, Portugal, Denmark and Belgium have the highest mortalities due to cancer. A diet rich in whole grains could reduce the risk of developing cancer by 34%.
How much should we eat?
Whole grain guidelines differ worldwide, but it is generally agreed that most of your grain intake should come from wholegrains. For instance in the United States, it is recommended to consume at least three servings per day. One serving is equal to 16g of whole grains, so at least 48g should be consumed daily. Many of us do not eat enough whole grain. In order to increase consumption, people want whole grain products that are easy to identify, widely available, simple to eat or prepare, with excellent sensory qualities.