Whole grains, cereals, rice or pasta, for example, are supposedly healthier varieties of their refined counterparts. The refining process removes the outer layers of the cereal grain, removing most of its vitamins and minerals, and almost all of the fiber.
One can differentiate between the bran, which contains all of the edible outer layers of the cereal, or what is more widely known as whole grains, in which the grain has lost the outermost layers but keeps the germ intact. On our site we tell you about the advantages and disadvantages of whole grains for children.
- These whole grains for children are rich in fiber. They contain, in particular, relevant amounts of cellulosic fiber of the insoluble type. Thanks to this fiber content, which swells in the stomach, they produce a greater feeling of satiety. In this way, they can help reduce food intake and prevent obesity.
- Thanks to this fiber, they also help prevent constipation, since fiber not only increases the volume of stool, but also accelerates the passage of the same through the intestine. The rapid passage through the intestine can compromise the absorption of certain nutrients, although it is not too relevant in the case of whole grains. However, if the elimination of toxic substances, including allergens, is facilitated in a more effective way.
- On the other hand, since the carbohydrates of cereals are complex, and especially those of whole grains, glucose is released slowly, without sudden increases in its level in the blood, something very beneficial for children, since ensures that your energy levels remain stable and they do not suffer ups and downs as would happen with simple sugars.
- In addition, it is especially important for diabetics, which can be consumed with less problem than refined cereals.
- The fiber present in whole grains can be counterproductive in the case of young children - under 2 years of age especially - or those who do not eat too much, being better that they consume foods with high nutritional density and less fiber.
- They contain, in contrast, what is known as anti-nutritional factors or substances that make digestion difficult or that interfere with the absorption of various nutrients. In particular, rye bran contains protease inhibitors, substances that hinder the digestion of proteins, and wheat bran especially contains phytates, which hinder the absorption of iron, zinc and calcium as they pass through the intestine.
- According to this, it would be convenient to avoid or limit the consumption of whole grains or bran when anemia is present and completely avoid rye during growth stages or until puberty. Some processes almost completely eliminate the content of these anti-nutritional factors, for example, the fermentation of wheat to make bread almost completely eliminates the content of phytates, so that whole wheat bread does not hinder the absorption of minerals.
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