Wheat is perhaps among the most common grains eaten across the world and doesn’t need too much of an introduction. However, most people are unaware of the health benefits of wheat. Apart from being a virtual storehouse of energy and proteins, wheat has several other beneficial compounds which help in promoting good health.
Wheat has a very high composition of mineral salts, catalytic elements, magnesium, calcium, sulfur, potassium, chlorine, silicon, arsenic, iodine, copper, zinc, vitamin B, and vitamin E. Just looking at the constituents is sufficient explanation why it is an indispensable part of almost every cuisine across the world.
It is a known combatant against cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal issues, anemia, mineral deficiencies, obesity, tuberculosis, asthenia, skin diseases and several other issues.
The Health Benefits of Wheat to the Body
1. Wheat Helps Control Obesity:
Wheat, when ingested along with its kernel, is known as whole grain wheat. Wheat contains a lot of indigestible carbohydrates. When ingested, these carbohydrates are of no use per se for humans, but research has indicated that this is a major component in ensuring the stability of the gut microflora, which has been found to be responsible for the weight gain, reduced absorption of nutrients and deficiencies arising in individuals. These compounds were shown to exhibit prebiotic properties which are extremely beneficial for the microbiota of the gut.
If the balance of the microbiota of the gut is intact, they release compounds and elicit changes in the body which help to maintain LDL and HDL levels, burn fat, improve metabolism and ensure that obesity is kept at bay.
In fact, several studies have found that lowered intake of whole grain wheat over decades has been followed by an increase in the number of people suffering from obesity.
2. Wheat Improves Digestive Health:
Whole grain wheat contains compounds and vitamins which are precursors to enzymes which help increase metabolic activity in the body. Apart from this, whole wheat contains huge amounts of fiber. Fiber adds weight to the food and ensures that the stomach feels full sooner. This prevents overeating and ensures that the appropriate amount required to fulfill dietary requirements is ingested.
Also, once it is inside the digestive system, it speeds up the process of digestion and clears up the intestine, removing the previous waste which tends to accumulate in the large and small intestine.
3. Wheat Helps Prevent Type 2 Diabetes:
Wheat contains a huge amount of magnesium, which is a co-factor for more than 300 enzymes. A co-factor is a compound that helps activate an enzyme. Several of these enzymes are a part of the body’s insulin and glucose secretion and absorption unit which is directly responsible for maintaining the fine balance of insulin levels.
Whole wheat grain also has a low glycemic index, which means that eating foods containing it will lead to a gradual release of sugars in the blood and inhibit the formation of the sugar spike that is often considered the most harmful aspect of diabetes and also the leading cause behind it.
4. Wheat Contains Anti-inflammatory Substances:
Wheat contains a compound called betaine, which is well known for its anti-inflammatory action. Inflammation is a major component of several rheumatic diseases and pains.
Intake of betaine is linked to reduced risk of chronic inflammation, heart disease, osteoporosis, cognitive dissonance, and Alzheimer’s as well.
5. Wheat Helps Prevent Gallstones:
Several studies and surveys conducted by various institutions have demonstrated that cereals and bread made from whole wheat have been instrumental in preventing gallstones – specifically in women.
Due to the high presence of insoluble fibers, the food travels through the intestinal tracts smoothly and this lowers the requirement of bile acids for this purpose. As a result, the major cause of gall stone formation – bile acids, are inhibited and thus, the occurrence of gallstones is reduced.
6. Wheat Helps Combat Side-Effects of Cancer Treatment:
Wheat has been known to contain high quantities of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients which help the body recover faster from the harmful side effects of cancer treatment, especially chemotherapy.
Most chemotherapy treatments can cause extensive damage to kidney, liver and other vital organs. Generally, pharmacological medication is prescribed to combat such issues, but these have severe side effects like nausea, mood swings, loss of appetite and several others. However, studies have shown that extracts of whole grain wheat have the same effect on these side effects as most pharmacological medicines available in the market.
7. Wheat Improves Skin and Hair Health:
Wheat is a great source of vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin E. Vitamin E is a compound that is highly beneficial for dermatological health and helps keep the skin healthy, firm, fresh and looking young.
Whole wheat also contains selenium which is also an antioxidant and makes hair silky, shiny and lustrous. Apart from selenium, wheat also has high quantities of zinc, which also keeps the hair, skin, and nails healthy and promotes good growth.
8. Wheat Provides Energy And Nourishment:
Wheat contains high quantities of vitamin B and other essential nutrients which are known to help rejuvenate the body from various stresses and weakness. Deficiency of these substances results in lethargy, hampers bodily functions and results in overall lesser energy. Vitamin B and magnesium are also important components of hormones which are responsible for mood swings and depression. An abundant amount of these compounds ensures that the balance of hormones is maintained properly and these effects are reduced, especially in women during their menses.
9. Wheat Improves Mental Health:
Wheat contains vitamin B, vitamin E, zinc, and several other compounds which help to maintain mental health, neurological rigidity and prevent neurons and nerve cells from degenerating. This is the reason why conditions like dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and certain other disorders may be cured by various wheat extracts in the future.
10. Wheat Lowers Cholesterol Levels:
Wheat is known to contain components which help reduce the levels of bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol levels in the body. This has the added benefit of reducing the build up of blockages in the blood vessels which are responsible for high blood pressure, heart disease, and other disorders.
Some people may suffer from gluten allergy, which is a major component of wheat. In such cases, bloating, nausea, restlessness, and even more severe side effects may be expressed. It is suggested to visit a medical practitioner to understand the extent and the reason of the allergy and look for alternatives and supplements.