Fiber-ific November: The Benefits of Whole Wheat
Carbohydrates is one of the essential nutrients needed by the body to sustain its daily functions. It is divided into two groups, the simple and complex carbohydrates. The simple carbohydrates are easily digested in our body and can be an immediate source of energy if not efficiently used it can turn in to fat or elevate our blood sugar. On the other hand, the complex carbohydrates are not easily digested therefore, it can be a steady source of fuel for our body.
Complex Carbohydrates has two types, Starch and Fiber. Starch is a good source of energy and essential nutrients. Fiber on the other hand is a non-digestible carbohydrate. There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble Fiber can be dissolved in water and can help lower blood glucose and cholesterol levels. Oatmeals, Nuts, Beans, Lentils, Apples, Blueberries are some of the known sources of soluble fiber. Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, can help food move easily in our digestive system and therefore helps improve bowel movement and prevents constipation. Foods rich in insoluble fiber include wheat, whole wheat breads, whole grain products, brown rice, legumes, carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes.
Based on the Philippine Dietary Reference Intake (PDRI), Filipinos need to consume 20-25 grams of dietary fiber per day. Below are some tips on how we can incorporate fiber in our daily diet:
- Fruits – eat whole fruits as a dessert after meal instead of consuming processed fruit juices.
- Incorporate fiber in your snacks - instead of munching junk foods opt for fresh veggie finger foods.
- Breakfast – eat high fiber foods like oats and cereals as your major carbohydrate source in the morning.
- Exchange your meat and other products with beans and legumes as protein source at least 1-2 times a week.
- Replace your white rice, white bread, and pasta, with brown rice, whole wheat bread, and whole wheat pasta.
Buying whole-grain bread is the wisest choice if you want to increase your fiber intake. Choose whole grains instead of refined grains. Whole-grains such as whole-wheat contains the complete component of the whole grain namely the bran, the germ, and the endosperm (Figure). These components give invaluable nutrients like vitamin B complex, trace mineral, phytonutrients, carbohydrates, protein, and of course, dietary fiber.
Specifically, the components of whole wheat have various effects on our bodies:
- Bran and fiber slow the breakdown of starch into glucose—thus maintaining a steady blood sugar rather than causing sharp spikes.
- Fiber helps lower cholesterol as well as move waste through the digestive tract.
- Fiber may also help prevent the formation of small blood clots that can trigger heart attacks or strokes.
- Phytochemicals and essential minerals such as magnesium, selenium and copper found in whole grains may protect against some cancers.
Gardenia Tuna and Corn Melt
Gardenia Wheat Raisin Bread 3 slices
Canned Tuna, drained 1 can
White Onion, chopped 1/2 pc
Corn kernels 2 tbsp
Cheddar Cheese 2 tbsp
Salt and pepper to taste
PROCEDURE1.) Cut out shapes from the center of the bread using a heart-shaped cookie cutter. Set aside.
2.) In a bowl, combine tuna, corn, chopped onions, cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste.
3.) Scoop at least 1 tbsp of the tuna mixture onto the heart shape bread and spread.
4.) Toast it until cheese is melted.
5.) Serve warm and enjoy!
- Fiber, https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/carbohydrates/fiber/
- Whole Grains. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/whole-grains/
- Starch and Carbohydrates, https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/starchy-foods-and-carbohydrates/
Generally, whole wheat grains are rich in fiber which have various health benefits. If you’re aiming for a healthier lifestyle, try to get a variety of fiber from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.