Here’s another reason to eat whole grains instead of white flour. Chinese scientists have found that eating whole grains lowers risk of breast cancer. In China much of the rice is now “polished,” meaning that it is processed white rice with many nutrients removed, so they are having similar health issues as North Americans that eat a lot of processed wheat flour.
Grains traditionally provide about half of the carb calories and half of the protein intake in both Western countries and China. Whole grains like brown rice, whole wheat and whole rye contain the grain’s endosperm (offering protein, carbs), germ (giving B vitamins, vitamin E, minerals, good fats) and bran (having insoluble fibre, phytochemicals, B vitamins, minerals). Processed grains just have the inner endosperm, but have the germ and bran removed.
Eating whole grains has been associated with reducing type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, colorectal cancer and digestive system cancers already. But this new research examining studies involving 131,151 participants and 11,589 breast cancer cases found that whole grains reduced breast cancer risks, too.
Scientists said this is because: 1. Whole grains help lower glucose and insulin response leading to better glycemic control. High insulin is associated with increased breast cancer 2. Whole grains lower inflammation; and high inflammation is shown to increase cancer risk and progress breast cancer 3. Its fibre boosts the immune system, and takes carcinogens, excessive estrogen and damaged cells out of the body through feces 4. Its antioxidant vitamins and minerals are known to stop almost all types of cancer from progressing 5. Its phytoestrogens and lignans stop cells from mutating by balancing hormones.
Yunjun Xiao, Yuebin Ke, Shuang Wu, et al., “Association between whole grain intake and breast cancer risk…”, Nutrition Journal 2018 17:87, September 2018, Shenzhen Center for Disease Control, Shenzhen, China https://nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12937-018-0394-2