Its common knowledge, that our health is as good as our diets. Our diets constitute the most important component of how our bodies deal with diseases.
According to a 2006 World Health Organisation report, the top five causes of death world-wide are all “chronic diseases—heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic respiratory diseases, and diabetes. It goes on to state that all these diseases are preventable and are closely linked to poor diets.
According to Harvard School of public health whose healthy eating pyramid is currently the most widely accepted standard of a healthy diet, whole grains are the most important in terms volume of food consumed.
Whole grains are the best sources of carbohydrates. They deliver the outer (bran) and inner (germ) layers along with energy-rich starch.
The ills of grain processing
Unfortunately, due to food processing, the outer bran of the grain that makes it “whole’ is usually striped off to elongate the shelf life of the food.
Thus, white maize flour is stripped of the maize bran which is dully fed to animals; no wonder broiler chickens can reach full maturity in two months while the indigenous chicken would need more than twice that long.
Wheat processing strips away more than half of wheat’s B vitamins, 90 percent of the vitamin E, and virtually all of the fiber. The same goes for white rice as opposed to brown rice, or brown bred made from whole wheat as supposed to white bread.
The bran in the whole grains is important because, it contains lipids and sterols which from the cell membrane of all our cells. Our body is only as healthy as our cells. This is because trillions and trillions of body cells make up the body.
These nutrients help our body cells to take in nutrients and release wastes. In your diet is deficient of whole grains, your cell membranes become hard and impermeable, and will let in a few of the nutrients you eat, and release only a little of the wastes from your cell. As a result, you will have a body full of cells with very little nutrients and a lot of waste locked within.
Research reported in the May 2007 issue of the Journal of Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases, shows that whole grains help lower their risk of clogged arteries, heart attacks and strokes.
The study’s lead author, Dr. Philip B Mellen, of Wake Forest University commented: “Many consumers and health professionals are not aware of the health benefits of whole grains”.
A diet rich in whole grains may prevent development of type 2 diabetes. Whole grains also contain fiber that can help lower your blood cholesterol and help you feel full, which may help you manage your weight. Therefore you will reduce the chances of developing heart disease and strokes.
In the Harvard-based Nurses’ Health Study, women who ate 2 to 3 servings of whole-grain products (mostly bread and breakfast cereals) each day were 30 percent less likely to have a heart attack or die from heart disease over a 10-year period than women who ate less than 1 serving per week. The fiber in whole grains also aids digestive health and prevents constipation.
Good and bad carbohydrates
In Rwanda, good sources of carbohydrates can be found in the traditional sorghum dishes. Soya flour is also a very nutritive source of whole grains that has gained popularity all over the world in recent years.
Brown rice although more expensive is more nutritive carbohydrate that white rice, just as brown bread is better option.
Foods like potato are made to become sources of bad carbohydrates in the diet especially because of how they are prepared. The method of cooking you choose will make potatoes high fat, high calorie treats like fries (mafriti).