If you’re a health- and figure-conscious individual, then you may already know the fact that adding refined grains to your diet is a terrible idea. That’s because it can considerably increase your risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

On the other hand, it’s a wonderful idea for you to add whole grains to your diet on a regular basis. Unlike refined grains, whole grains are in their unprocessed state. It only means that the things that make them healthy in the first place such as the bran and germ remain intact. Refined grains are heavily processed, and thus they supply the body with nothing but mostly calories, experts say.

Worry not if you’re someone who is sensitive to gluten or suffers from celiac disease. That’s because wheat, barley and rye are not the only whole grains on the face of the planet. Millet, buckwheat (it’s not wheat despite of its name), sorghum, wild rice, brown rice, oatmeal, popcorn — these are just a few examples of whole grains that are free of gluten.

However, do take note that some varieties may have small amounts of gluten in them as a result of cross-contamination. If you’re dodging gluten, make sure that you steer clear of a whole grain product that comes from a manufacturer that offers gluten-containing goods or uses the same pieces of equipment they use on wheat, barley and rye.

According to health authorities, the addition of whole grains to your diet on a regular basis (5 to 8 servings per day, with each serving amounting to 1 ounce) can come with an assortment of amazing benefits. Some of those that can really leave you impressed include:

Regulated Bowel Movement

Whole grains are extremely good for the gut as they help sweep waste materials and also toxic substances out of the body. It’s for this reason exactly why adding them to the diet regularly can help in keeping constipation at bay. Scientists say that a diet that’s high in whole grains may also considerably lower your risk of battling deadly colon cancer one day.

Lowered Cardiovascular Disease Risk

It’s not just impurities and poisons in your colon that whole grains can help eliminate, but also bad cholesterol and plaque in your arteries. This helps prevent arterial hardening and narrowing, which is something that can cause an increase in the blood pressure. It can also increase your risk of forming a blood clot or having reduced circulation to the heart muscle and brain tissue, something that can lead to a heart attack and stroke respectively.

Controlled Blood Sugar

Whether you are already suffering from diabetes or you’re nearly there, make sure that you consume whole grains on a regular basis. It’s for the fact that they help keep your blood sugar levels from spiking. Someone who has diabetes or at risk of developing it should keep at bay having high levels of sugar in the bloodstream in order to dodge some really serious health complications.

Reduced Body Weight

Especially if you’re a figure-conscious individual, it’s a great idea for you to add sufficient amounts of whole grains to your everyday diet. Whole grains are heavy on the stomach, thus they can save you from having seconds or encountering hunger pangs. Besides, being obese or overweight is more than just an aesthetic issue — it’s actually regarded as a risk factor for so many terrifying health nightmares, including certain cancers.

Optimized Nervous System Health

What’s so amazing about whole grains is that they are phenomenal sources of B vitamins. According to health authorities, B vitamins are essential for the proper functioning of the brain and the rest of the nervous system. This is why regularly consuming whole grains is especially recommended for those who like to enjoy improved brain power, lowered anxiety, and eliminated pins and needles sensations in the extremities.

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