Whole grains can help women's problems

Human beings are natural grain eaters. We have all heard the phrase; "Bread is
the staff of life."But over the last few generations we have moved from whole
grain to highly processed and very inferior flours in sliced white bread, pies,
puddings, biscuits, cakes and cookies - not to mention pasta and pizza bases!

Grains are evolution's counterpart to humans. The dinosaurs ate ferns and
primitive vegetation, monkeys and apes eat fruit, and last to appear were grains
and humans. Some type of grain grows naturally on every continent. The life-
giving benefits were known to our ancestors.

Wholegrain cereals are a significant source of antioxidant phytochemicals. These
include lignans, which is a phytoestrogen that can lower the risk of coronary
heart disease and may protect against hormonally-linked diseases such as breast
and prostate cancer.

An important antioxidant found in most grains is called phytic acid.
It helps protect against the development of cancer cells in the colon,
reduces blood clots and prevents heart disease. It also enhances the
lymphocytes ability to kill tumor cells and prevents the formation of kidney
stones. Furthermore, it has a deodorising effect on body odour and bad breath
and can also help prevent acute alcohol poisoning.

Even eating one serving of wholegrains daily can considerably reduce the risk of
heart and blood vessel disease in postmenopausal women. Plus, the regular intake
of cereals that are rich in soluble fibre, such as oats and psyllium,
significantly reduces the amount of cholesterol circulating in the bloodstream.
Oatbran also helps to lower blood cholesterol.

Another added benefit is that the high-fibre content of wholegrains, increase
the movement of food through the digestive tract. The result is softer larger
stools, and more frequent bowel action. This provides a good environment for
beneficial bacteria, while at the same time decreasing levels of destructive
bacteria and the build up of carcinogenic compounds.

Millet has a softer consistency and goes well with other foods. It can be used
as a diuretic, it strengthens the kidneys and has a beneficial effect on the
stomach, spleen and pancreas. It is also helpful in cases of diarrhea, vomiting,
indigestion, and diabetes. Scientific studies have further shown, that eating
foods high in insoluble fiber, such as millet and other whole grains, can help
women avoid gallstones.

Phosphorus found in millet is an important component of nucleic acids which are
the building blocks of the genetic code. The metabolism of fats relies on
phosphorus, as it is an essential component of cell membranes and nervous system
structures. It also plays a role in forming the mineral matrix of bone. A
shortage of phosphorus has been linked to gastrointestinal malabsorption and
diabetes mellitus.

Unfortunately, the complete milling and polishing that converts brown rice into
white rice destroys most of the vitamins B3, B1, and B6, a large amount of the
magnesium, manganese, phosphorus,and iron content and all of the dietary fiber
and essential fatty acids. The resulting white rice is nothing more than refined
starch, stripped of its nutrients.

Magnesium helps to relax your nerves and muscles and build strong bones.
It also helps with blood circulation. Symptoms which may indicate a lack of
magnesium are; muscle weakness, increased heart rate, bone weakness, headaches
and elevated blood pressure.

Selenium protects the cells from free-radical damage, enables your thyroid to
produce thyroid hormone and helps lower the risk of joint inflammation. Symptoms
which may indicate a lack of selenium are; muscle pain and weakness,
discoloration of the skin and whitening of the fingernail beds.

Manganese helps the body utilize nutrients such as biotin, thiamin and ascorbic
acid. In addition it keeps the bones strong, helps the body synthesize fatty
acids and cholestorol and maintain normal blood sugar levels. Nausea, skin
rashes, dizziness and possible hearing loss may indicate a lack of manganese.

The high fibre content of whole grains benefits women during their active
reproductive years as well as during the menopause. Whole grains regulate
hormonal levels due to their high levels of vitamin B and vitamin E, which have
a beneficial effect on both the liver and the ovaries. Studies have shown that
eating foods high in insoluble fiber, such as millet and other whole grains, can
help women avoid gallstone.

It is easy to obtain whole grain wheat berries, brown rice, millet and oats.
Let's get back to basics and start using these wonderful kernels in their whole
form. Instead of constantly relying on potatoes to bulk out a meal, use brown
rice instead. Oat bran porridge will fortify the family at breakfast. Bulgur a
Middle Eastern staple, is delicious in pilaf and salads. Millet forms easily
into cakes for a real munch - give whole grains a try!

Writer on natural help for women's problems. Author of Smart Nutrition for an Easy Menopause. Online help and free newsletter at www.maytree.net

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