Whole grains vs refined grains: Which is better for you?

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Read full article By Jayashree Narayanan @ The Indian Express Photo Credit:  Getty Images/Thinkstock

Whether it is the “little different” taste or an “option worth considering”, a lot of people have taken to whole grains as a part of their daily diet. Whole grains, considered extremely healthy, are wide and varied. In India, rajgira or amaranth, kuttu or buckwheat, sabudana or pearl sago, lapsi or broken wheat or dalia, barley or sattu or jau, ragi or finger millet, bajra or pearl millet, jowar or sorghum are some varieties that can be easily found.

“I have started consuming kodri, a whole grain that is pressure-cooked like rice, looks like dalia but is more filling. Also, I have homemade multigrain Thalipeeth and ragi chips for satiate unwanted cravings,” said Mumbai-based Priyamvada Mangal. “It’s part of our tradition, and are also considered healthier than grains like rice — making them an option (worth trying),” said Chennai-based Vignesh Raghupathy, who enjoys Ragi Dosa and Bajra or Kamba Dosa once in a few days.

And then there is Chhavi Auplish, who switched to whole grains as part of an experiment. “Since we’ve been having white rice and wheat since childhood, whole grains may taste a little different but are a welcome change,” Auplish, who has oats, millets, barley and ragi, said.

Call it decision led by health concerns or just a change, whole grains are gradually reclaiming their lost appeal; credit for which goes to nutritionists and experts stressing on the need to eat “wholesome and local foods”. “Our ancestors always consumed whole grains like bajra, jowar, millets, ragi, khapli, hand pounded rice, whole wheat, etc., but over time, because of western influence, busy lifestyle (because whole grains take time to cook), we have moved away from our roots and started consuming refined variations because apparently, they have a better texture and shelf life,” Luke Coutinho, holistic lifestyle coach-integrative medicine told indianexpress.com.

What are whole grains?

Whole grain is basically the grain of any cereal that contains germ, bran, and endosperm. These also include pseudocereals like buckwheat, broken wheat, bulgur wheat, millets, and whole-grain products like ready-to-eat cereals, said Alpa Momaya, senior nutritionist at HealthifyMe. “And they are among the earliest to be cultivated by humankind. These may have been grown as far back as 9000 BC,” mentioned chef Sanjeev Kapoor on his website.

As per an article Whole Grains and Health: Perspective for Asian Indians published in Journal of the Association of Physicians of India (JAPI.org), as whole grains are “low in calories and nutrient-dense”, they are shown to “reduce the risk of diabetes type 2, heart disease like elevated levels of cholesterol, and obesity”.


Posted on

January 27, 2021

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