Research exploring the health benefits of whole grains continues. Every month, it seems, another discovery is made that supports the idea that whole grains offer way more protection against disease than refined grains. These healing foods contain all the potent ingredients that nature gave them — without any interference from processing and manufacturing.
Over the last three decades, lots of attention has been given to the role of dietary fiber in health and disease (read our article showing how whole grains could reduce heart attack and stroke risk). In particular, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, intestinal health, and some types of cancer can be shielded against by eating whole grains. As a result, the food industry started to add back fiber to refined foods and develop fiber-rich foods.
The story continues, with scientists suggesting that whole-grain foods are superior to foods enriched with fibers obtained or synthesized during chemical processing. This, they say, is because the content of bioactive components and micronutrients in whole grain is more abundant. In turn, this has triggered interest in how to isolate a micronutrient-rich substance from wheat called “aleurone.”
Aleurone is a cell layer at the inner site of the bran part of whole grain. It contains most of the minerals, vitamins, phenolic antioxidants, and lignans of the wheat grain. New milling techniques have recently allowed for separation of aleurone cells from the other layers of wheat bran. Scientists assert that this yields a fiber-rich concentrate,which potentially contains many of the “whole grain kernelbioactives.” Stay tuned for more data on aleurone and potential health benefits.
Until aleurone supplements become available, keep eating whole-wheat grain. Buy or make your own bread with wheat grains that are unprocessed. There are a lot of other whole grains you can try, too: spelt, kamut, oat, quinoa and millet are just a few. Don’t fall into the trap of eating white bread and/or white rice every meal. You need all the special healthy ingredients in whole grains to keep you
strong and disease-free.