There seems to be a lot of confusion when it comes to eating healthy, otherwise why are we in the midst of an obesity crisis? If we truly understood what healthy meant, perhaps there would not be an epidemic. Walking down any health food aisle, the sheer number of products available can be overwhelming. We want to get healthy but hesitate because we don’t know where to start. Which product is best? How do I know what to look for? A great place to start is with what the average American consumes at least 10 servings a day of – refined grains.
Refined grain is what flour is made from. This is the flour that is used to make bagels, donuts, cakes, bread, pancakes, waffles, buns, rolls, pizza, and cereal. Think about your typical day and all the refined grains around you. But why is refined so bad for us? The answer lies within how it is made. During this process, the oil inside the grain is released with grinding. Prior to mass production of breads, this released oil caused spoilage. With the advent of industrialized milling, the hard outer shell is removed and the rest pulverized into a fine white powder, giving it a much longer shelf life. However, there was also a down-side, too.
Creating this fine powder by eliminating the hard outer shell also meant removing the nutritional content as well. Whole grains contain vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and fiber, all contained within the hard outer shell. What is left causes the health problems we are experiencing today.
- Spikes in blood sugar which is a precursor to type 2 diabetes.
- Food cravings that cause overeating and obesity.
- Inflammation which in turn causes conditions such as cataracts, heart disease, and arthritis.
- Gastrointestinal disorders.
- Food allergies and intolerance.
- Bone density loss.
Refined grains are like a poison to our bodies. Understanding the difference between refined grains and whole grains we can preserve our good health. Choosing whole grains provides our body with the essential nutrients it needs to thrive. Use these tips to make healthier choices at the grocery store:
- Look for whole kernel grains such as quinoa, wild rice, rye, millet, barley, oat, spelt, corn, and wheat.
- Try sprouted grains.
- Use flour that is whole-grain only.
- When baking, replace some of that whole-grain flour with nut or seed meal (almond, cashew, flax, or coconut).
Advocate for your health. Do not be a bystander, casually observing the food that literally surrounds you. Question the food’s integrity. Learn what different foods do to your body and why. We will focus on what refined grains do different parts of your body in the next post.