The staple of every diet for centuries has been bread. Growing up in a large family mom always had bread and butter with every meal regardless of what we were eating it with, toast and butter with breakfast, bread-butter-tomato sandwich for lunch, bread and butter with the roast for dinner, you get the point.
I think for most of us over 40 … (OK, over 50) we grew up with bread as a part of every meal. However, bread has been getting a bad rap lately. Too many carbs, too many calories, too much yeast, too much fat, too much grain, too much sodium, and so on …
The soft red-winter wheat that many of our farmers grow here in Ohio is the fundamental ingredient in many of the breads and sweet-tasting treats we enjoy regularly. But so many diets today are cutting all things bread-related. This is certainly having an impact on some diets and many swear that with the assistance of various vitamins and supplements, these diets have had a positive impact on their lives.
I’m not here to refute those personal claims of success. I, too, have reached out to reduce carbohydrates from my daily diet and have seen success. But cutting carbs and cutting calories and cutting fats and cutting cholesterol all seem to affect each of us differently. So let me say I think it would be wise to meet with your doctor before you start any kind of “cutting.”
With that being said, let’s talk about bread, man!
There are many studies that show eating whole grains instead of refined grains lowers the risk of many chronic diseases. These are by far my favorite types of bread — whole oat and/or whole wheat. While benefits are most pronounced for those consuming at least three servings daily, some studies show reduced risks from as little as one serving daily. The message: Every whole grain in your diet helps — so maybe mom was right!
Of course, these benefits are most pronounced in the context of an overall healthy diet. No one food — even whole grains — will guarantee good health. So getting yourself back on that treadmill or back to the Y makes a difference — just like when mom “made” us go outside and play — (she was right again!)
It’s also important to remember that some whole-grain foods are healthier than others. Plain grains — from brown rice and quinoa to wheat berries — and whole-grain pasta — (btw, which I have cooked with and love) should be a regular feature on your table, with processed grains eaten less often. Sure, a whole-grain cookie is better for you than a refined-grain one, all other ingredients being equal — but it’s still a cookie! IT’S STILL A COOKIE!!
The benefits of whole grains most documented by repeated studies include:
• Stroke risk reduced 30-36 percent;
• Type 2 diabetes risk reduced 21-30 percent;
• Heart disease risk reduced 25-28 percent;
• Better weight maintenance.
Other benefits indicated by recent studies include:
• Reduced risk of asthma;
• Healthier carotid arteries;
• Reduction of inflammatory disease risk;
• Lower risk of colorectal cancer;
• Healthier blood pressure levels;
• Less gum disease and tooth loss.
Here’s seeing you, in Ohio Country!
The writer is the owner of Wilson 1 Communications and an award-winning veteran broadcaster for over 30 years and the co-host and producer of “In Ohio Country Today,” a nationally recognized television show, and offers radio commentary and ag reports, including locally for 92.1 the Frog WFGF Lima.