Turn on the television, open a book or newspaper or flip through a magazine and you’ll probably see something about whole grains. You probably already know that whole grains are good for you. You may have even tried to switch to whole grains in your bread and cereal. What you may not know is that if you’re trying to lose weight, whole grains may be the solution.
What are Whole Grains?
Whole grains are grains that haven’t been processed. According to the Whole Grain Council, “Whole grains or foods made from them contain all the essential parts and naturally-occurring nutrients of the entire grain seed. If the grain has been processed (e.g., cracked, crushed, rolled, extruded, and/or cooked), the food product should deliver approximately the same rich balance of nutrients that are found in the original grain seed.”
Examples of whole grains include:
* Wheat, including spelt, durum, bulgur, cracked wheat and wheat berries
How Does Whole Grain Help You Lose Weight?
Whole grains actually help you lose weight in a number of ways. The first way that you’ll probably notice is that they fill you up. They’re bulky and when you eat whole grains you get full faster and you stay full longer. That means you eat less. For example, try replacing instant oatmeal with steel cut oats. Instant oatmeal has been processed, steel cut oats are the whole version of that particular grain. You’ll notice a difference.
The vitamins in whole grains also help boost your metabolism and regulate your blood sugar. When your metabolism is operating at a healthy level you burn more calories. Minerals like magnesium that are normally found in whole grains help boost your metabolism.
Whole grains also often contain omega fatty acids. They help boost your immune system and reduce inflammation in your body. Both of these can contribute to weight gain and a feeling of being bloated and physically uncomfortable.
Integrating Whole Grains Into Your Diet
Start by replacing your processed grains with whole grains. For example, buy whole wheat bread instead of white bread. Buy whole wheat cereals and eat brown or wild rice instead of white rice. Try to have whole grains at every meal and experiment with new grains. Quinoa for example, has a delicious nutty flavor and is packed with protein.