Do you find the different types of grains a little confusing? You’re not alone!
Grains have gotten a lot of attention lately and not all of it positive. So, let me unravel the mystery for you!
Wholegrains, such as brown rice, quinoa, barley and rolled or steel-cut oats maintain their fibre, vitamin and mineral content because they are minimally processed. They are cereals that contain the endosperm, bran, and germ.
Refined grains, such as white flour-based bread, pasta, crackers and white rice, are cereals that have been highly processed, removing the bran and germ – making them lower in fibre.
Grains are a staple food in many households around the world, which is why it’s important to understand the difference. Choosing wholegrains over refined grains has been linked to lower risks of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer and more. In comparison, refined grains are often associated with negative health outcomes such as obesity, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes.
At MindChamps, our menus are centred around a wholefoods philosophy – of which wholegrains play a big part. Let me share with you why.
Top 4 benefits of wholegrains:
1.Fuel for Sustained Energy
When grains are eaten, they’re broken down in the small intestine into individual sugars. These are absorbed in the bloodstream to be used as fuel by our muscles and brain. Wholegrains break down more slowly (as our bodies have to do more of the processing), meaning the sugars are released slowly, keeping blood sugar levels stable and preventing big spikes and crashes. This is incredibly important for little bodies!
2.Gut Health Supporter
Wholegrains are chock full of fibre, but did you know they’re also a great source of prebiotic fibre (a type of fibre known to specifically promote beneficial gut bacteria)? Fibre is essential for supporting a healthy digestive system.
3. Brain Health Booster
Many whole grains are naturally rich in an amino acid called tryptophan. Your body uses tryptophan to produce key brain messengers; serotonin and melatonin. Serotonin, also known as the “feel-good hormone,” improves mood and relaxes your brain and body. Whilst melatonin helps establish and maintain steady sleep cycles.
4. Support a Healthy Weight
Research suggests that those who eat wholegrains may have lower weights and waist circumferences. The high fibre content helps keep you full and satisfied, whilst also requiring your body to use more energy to digest them (compared to refined versions).
How to incorporate wholegrains easily into your day:
- Start your day with wholegrains. Try porridge, made with rolled oats, or wholegrain bread with avocado.
- Swap your staples. Swap white bread for wholemeal bread, white rice for brown rice or quinoa. White pasta for wholemeal or legume pasta.
- Re-think your snacks. Healthy wholegrain snacks include popcorn, wholegrain crackers or homemade muffins with wholemeal flour.
MindChamps Global Chief Nutrition Officer Mandy Sacher is Australia’s leading Paediatric Nutritionist, best-selling Author, child nutrition expert, blogger, and mother of two! She is also known for co-developing MEND (Mind Exercise Nutrition Do It!), the world’s largest and most researched childhood obesity prevention and treatment program based in the UK that was developed with over ten years of research.
Mandy and her Nutrition Team believe in the well-being of all our MindChamps children and that their nutritional needs should be fulfilled in our centres. Mandy’s philosophy is simple – teach children’s taste buds to enjoy nourishing, nutritionally beneficial foods as early as possible to ensure optimal development and establishment of lifelong healthy eating behaviours. Bridging the gaps in food and nutrition, this first-of-its-kind partnership is our commitment to creating and elevating a positive and lasting impact on childhood nutrition on a global level.