Cereal Based Healthy Foods For Anytime Diet
In all cultures all over the world, cereals have been the staple food of people for over 10,000 years. Considered a healthy option, even now they provide the average person with a major part of their requirement of nutrients. Besides, they also protect the body against diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart problems.
Cereals include grains of many kinds such as rice, wheat, oats, barley, corn and rice. Grains are made up of three parts – the outer layer called the bran, the main part called the endosperm and the heart called the germ. Whole grain cereals are always better than refined ones, and provide a storehouse of nutrients and added health benefits. These cereals can be eaten in various forms – either by themselves or blended together in ready-to-eat breakfast cereals, breads, muffins, biscuits, pizzas, pastas, waffles or soups.
Cereals Nutritional Information
Nutrients in various cereals: While each cereal has its individual arsenal of nutrients, they become even more effective when they are blended together. This is because of the variety of nutrients that the combination of cereals offers.
For example, rice is healthy because it contains calcium, potassium, phosphorus, Vitamins B1 and B2, niacin, proteins and carbohydrates. It contains no cholesterol, very little sodium and no fat. It can be easily digested.
Oats contain potassium, calcium magnesium, zinc, iron, folate, manganese, Vitamin B complex, Vitamins 6 and 12, riboflavin, thiamin and Vitamin C. These calm the nervous system and are used to treat depression. Because of its high fiber content, it prevents constipation.
Barley too while having these nutrients, also has plenty of fiber and produces acetic acid and propionic acid, which deter the formation of cholesterol. Barley provides protection against heart disease and is useful when taken by post-menopausal women and those with Type 2 diabetes. It also proves useful against childhood asthma.
Wheat has nutrients like protein, Vitamin B6, Vitamin E and K, Pantothenic Acid, selenium, manganese, potassium and iron. It is rich in fiber, and contains phytonutrients and anti-oxidants which protect against cancer.
Rye is a good source of copper, selenium, manganese, niacin, thiamin, Vitamin A, E and K, with smaller quantities of sodium and calcium.
Combined nutrients: While these are the individual nutrients, the common nutrients in cereals are:
- Cereals have a low content of saturated fats, but have omega-3 and other poly-unsaturated fats.
- They are free of cholesterol.
- They have a high content of soluble and insoluble fiber.
- They are a wonderful source of carbohydrates.
- They contain significant amounts of proteins.
- They are rich in vitamins and minerals.
- They have considerable amounts of phytochemicals and antioxidants, which lower risk of cancer and heart disease.
Combined benefits: Cereal based blended foods would thus come with a store of health benefits.
Fighting obesity: Blended cereals can be used effectively in a weight loss program. This is because they are high in fiber. This takes a longer time to digest, and makes us feel full, thus helping to discourage over-eating.
Protection against heart disease: Cereals contain many phytonutrients and fiber which reduce cholesterol and protect against heart disease.
Protection against Type 2 Diabetes: The large amounts of fiber in cereals greatly reduce the risk of getting diabetes.
Promotes bowel health: Wholegrain cereals are high in soluble and insoluble fiber. This aids in the better movement of the food as it passes through the digestive tract. It adds bulk and softness to stools, and aids in quicker and easier elimination of the stools, and hence toxins from the body.
Protection against cancer: Whole grains can give some protection against some cancers such as stomach, colon, kidney, gall bladder and breast cancer. This is because they contain anti-oxidants and phytochemicals. They also have fiber, which helps to mop up destructive cancer-causing toxins.