Wheat (Triticum) is a grass widely cultivated for its seed. It is a worldwide staple food. There are many species of wheat together which makes up the genus Triticum. The widely grown species is common wheat. The others are stooked wheat, hybrid wheat, hulled versus free-threshing wheat, Emmer, Khorasan, Enkorn, Durum, Duru spelt etc.
Wheat is an important source of Carbohydrates. It’s also the leading vegetal protein in human food. The content is about 13% relatively high compared to the other major cereals and relatively low in protein quality for supplying essential amino acids chosen by farmers. The protein present in wheat is Gluten. The problem with modern wheat is that many people are unable to properly digest the gluten in it.
Wheat is a source of multiple nutrients and dietary fibre. It is composed of the endosperm, germ and bran.
Now, let us look at the health benefits of wheat.
Prevention of Obesity
Wheat is known to control obesity. However, this health benefit if more evident in women than in men. The consumption of whole wheat products on regular basis can lead to considerable weight loss in obese patients.
Enhances Body Metabolism
Wheat improves your overall digestion and leads to better metabolism, thereby preventing some health issues from arising. When the body’s metabolism is not functioning at an optimal level, it can lead to a number of metabolic syndromes. Visceral obesity, high triglycerides, high blood pressure and low levels of HDL cholesterol are some of the common syndromes. These conditions put patients at risk of cardiovascular diseases. So, wheat is recommended in the diet to prevent these.
Prevents type 2 diabetes
Consuming whole wheat on regular basis helps to control blood sugar levels. Type 2 diabetes is a condition that can be dangerous if not controlled properly. Moreso, it can be reversed if you pay attention to your diet. Wheat contains a lot of magnesium. The magnesium is a co-factor for over 300 enzymes that directly affect the way the body uses insulin and secretes glucose. You can replace rice with wheat in your daily diet to control blood sugar levels.
Whole wheat also helps to prevent gallstones in women. The gallstones form due to the excessive secretion of bile acids. Wheat contains insoluble fibre and this ensures smoother digestion and this requires lesser secretion of bile acids, and so prevents gallstones.
Reduces Chronic Inflammation
Inflammation that may last for a few months is referred to as chronic inflammation. The inflammation could be a reaction to a harmful stimulus or a problem in the immune system. Though not a serious problem, if not checked it may lead to certain types of cancer and arthritis. Wheat can be used to control this effect. The betaine in wheat reduces inflammation and also help with other ailments such as Alzheimer’s disease, cognitive decline, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and osteoporosis.
Prevents heart attacks
Wheat and foods rich in dietary fibre are good for reducing blood pressure levels, which reduces the chances of having a heart attack. However, a healthy diet accompanied with recommended exercises are effective in preventing a heart attack.
Prevents Childhood Asthma
Childhood asthma is on the rise due to rising levels of pollution. However, the consumption of wheat-based diet can lower the chances of developing childhood asthmas by at least 50%. This is because wheat is rich in magnesium and vitamin E.
However, as a caution, many asthma patients are advised to avoid wheat to prevent their condition from getting worse. So, they must consult their doctor before consuming them.
Prevents breast cancer
Wheat bran acts as an anticarcinogenic agent in women. This means that it prevents certain types of cancer. Breast cancer is caused by high estrogen levels. Wheat bran optimizes estrogen levels and controls them at all times, preventing breast cancer. Wheat also contains lignans. These lignans occupy the hormone receptors in the body and also helps keep the high circulating estrogen levels in check. This aids in the prevention of breast cancer.
Promotes Gastrointestinal Health in Women
The fibre in wheat helps smooth digestion. This means less bile is secreted for food breakdown and so colon cancer is prevented. It also promotes better gastrointestinal health, especially in women.
Relieve postmenopausal symptoms
For women who have gone through menopause, regular consumption of whole wheat meals is great as they are at risk for a variety of diseases. It is good for high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and high cholesterol by slowing down the progression of atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is the building up of plaque in the blood vessels and arteries. Wheat is also good for reducing the chances of heart attacks and strokes in women.
Protects against coronary diseases
Whole wheat contains lots of plant lignans which is a phytonutrient. When you consume wheat, these plant lignans are transformed into mammalian lignans in the intestines by responsive flora in the body. Enterolactone is one of the lignans and this protects the body from cancers that are hormone-dependent such as breast cancer. They also prevent various heart diseases and obesity. Wheat also increases good cholesterol in the body. Good cholesterol is very significant in preventing heart diseases.
Side effects of whole wheat
- Wheat may be addictive.
- It is loaded with Gluten.
- Wheat spikes Blood Sugar Rapidly.
- Wheat consumption is associated with Several Brain Diseases.
- Whole Wheat Drastically raises Small, Dense LDL Cholesterol.
- Wheat contains substances that steal ‘nutrients from the body.
- It’s advisable not to take in much of wheat with more gluten.
Benefits Of Wheat And Its Side Effects – (lybrate.com)