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Why Grains are Great

Posted on the 24 October 2016

 

At Alpine, we love our grains and our breads are packed full of them. But as well as making our bread taste extra good and give them great texture, did you know that they are also little nutrition powerhouses? Here’s why we think grains are so great.

Note that the information here is of a general nature only. It has not been tailored for the low FODMAP or gluten free diets.

Health benefits of grains

Provide energy, vitamins and minerals
They might be tiny, but grains are nutrient dense, providing us with carbohydrate, fibre, B-group vitamins, iron, iodine and magnesium, just to name a few! (1). Grains are also a plant-based source of protein.

Source of fibre
When it comes to the health properties of grains, all of the magic comes from their fibre content. Grains and grain containing foods are the main source of fibre in the Australian diet, which is handy because without them, you would need to eat around 1.2kg or 9 serves of vegetables and 3 serves of fruit every day in order to get the minimum 25g of fibre recommended for general good health! (2, 3, 4). Read on to find out how the fibre in grains is beneficial to your health.

They fill you up
The soluble fibre in grains forms a gel in your stomach and small intestine, slowing down how quickly your food moves through your body and is digested. Not only does this help keep you fuller for longer, it results in lower blood glucose levels after eating. (5)

They keep the heart healthy
Again it is the soluble fibre in grains that has been found to help lower cholesterol. And given they help keep you full and regulate blood glucose levels, grains can assist in weight maintenance, which lowers your risk for developing cardiovascular disease. (6)

Can help lower bowel cancer risk
This one is a big deal because 1 in 13 Australians are affected by bowel cancer. (7) The good news is that the World Cancer Research Fund International reports there is convincing evidence that foods containing dietary fibre (i.e. grains!) decrease the risk of bowel cancer. (8)

Both the soluble and insoluble fibre in grains helps bulk up stools and keeps you regular, which is thought to reduce the amount of time the bowel lining is exposed to cancer causing substances. The fibre is also thought to bind up substances which can cause the rapid cell division associated with cancer. And overall, the fibre provides the bowel with prebiotics which when fermented, produce health promoting gases in the bowel. (9) If this all sounds too scienc-ey, then just know that increasing the amount of grains in your diet will be keeping your gut happy and healthy!

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Where can you find grains?

Wheat, oats and rice are the most popular grains eaten in Australia. (10) Other grains include:
• Rye
• Barley
• Corn
• Triticale
• Millet
• Sorghum
• Spelt
• Freekeh
• Farro
• Kamut

Quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat are not actually grains (they are seeds), however they are nutritionally similar and used in similar ways to ‘true’ grains.

The Alpine range features many of these grains. To find your favourite, head over the products section of our website.

What is a serve?
One serve of wholemeal or wholegrain foods equals:
• 1 slice of wholegrain bread
• 1/2 a medium wholemeal bread roll
• 1/2 a cup of cooked brown rice, pasta or noodles
• 1/2 a cup of cooked porridge
• 2/3 cups of wholegrain breakfast cereal
• 1/4 cup of untoasted muesli
You can refer to the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating for the number of serves you and your family should be aiming for each day.

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But I have trouble digesting grains!

Alpine bread is produced by a slow sourdough fermentation process that has been in our family since the early 1930s. This processing reduces the levels of FODMAPs (specifically fructans), possibly because the fructans are used by the yeasts and lactobacilli during fermentation. (11) The grains in our bread have also been sprouted which people find easier to digest.

 

References

  1. Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council, n.d. Grains and Nutrition. http://www.glnc.org.au/grains/grains-and-nutrition/
  2. Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council, 2015. Australians at Risk. 2014 Grains & Legumes Consumption & Attitudinal Study. http://www.glnc.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Australians-at-Risk-2014-Grains-Legumes-Consumption-Attitudinal-Study.pdf
  3. Foodworks Professional 2009. Fibre value representative of 2 medium carrots, 7 florets of broccoli, 2.5 florets of cauliflower, 2 medium tomatoes, 1 small capsicum, I cup of lettuce, 1 medium cucumber, 2 apples, 1 medium banana.
  4. National Health and Medical Research Council, 2014. Dietary Fibre https://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/dietary-fibre
  5. Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council, 2013. What’s to gain from grains? An update on the scientific evidence. http://www.glnc.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/GLN_WhatstoGain_WEB.pdf
  6. Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council, n.d. Grains and Heart Health. http://www.glnc.org.au/grains-2/grains-and-health/grains-cardiovascular-disease/
  7. Bowel Cancer Australia, n.d. Bowel Cancer The Facts https://www.bowelcanceraustralia.org/understanding-bowel-cancer
  8. World Cancer Research Fund International, 2016. Summary of strong evidence on diet, nutrition, Physical activity and prevention of cancer. http://www.wcrf.org/sites/default/files/WCRFI-Matrix-for-all-cancers.pdf
  9. Cancer Council Australia, n.d. Position statement – Fibre, wholegrain cereals and cancer http://wiki.cancer.org.au/policy/Position_statement_-_Fibre,_wholegrain_cereals_and_cancer
  10. Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council, n.d. Types of Grains. http://www.glnc.org.au/grains-2/types-of-grains/
  11. Monash University, Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, n.d. Frequently asked low FODMAP diet questions. http://www.med.monash.edu/cecs/gastro/fodmap/low-fodmap.html#5