Weetabix: Expert discusses supermarket own brand cereals
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About 580 million kilograms of breakfast cereals were eaten in the UK in 2020, which is a huge increase from the year before. It’s a good thing that people are eating more cereals, as Dr Deborah Lee from Dr Fox Online Pharmacy reckons a bowl of cereal daily could help you live longer. Here’s why.
You may not realise it, but your bowl of breakfast cereal may hold the key to a long life.
A 2016 study found that people who eat cereal every day have a reduced risk of health.
Dr Lee said: “In the first-ever, 2016 review and meta-analysis, the authors set out to find the link between consumption of whole grains and mortality.
“They identified 11 prospective studies, in which there were 101,282 deaths, from a total of 843,749 participants.
“The study found some very interesting results – an increased intake of whole grains was statistically significantly associated with a reduction in all-cause mortality.
“Those with the highest intake of whole grains reduced their risk of death by 18 percent, compared to those with the lowest intake.
“Each additional portion of whole-grain reduced mortality by 7 percent.”
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Not all cereals are healthy though, so don’t go purchasing sugary, fatty, calorific packs and expect to live longer and be healthy.
Dr Lee said the only cereals you should be eating on a regular basis are porridge oats, wholewheat cereals and whole-grain cereals.
Whole wheat cereals includes Weetabix, Shredded Wheat, Bran flakes, Oat flakes, Puffed You can eat any kind of whole-grain cereals and muesli, as long as they have no added sugar.
Keep an eye on your portion size too, eating no more than 30 to 45g per portion if it’s a breakfast cereal or 50g of porridge oats per portion.
Dr Lee added: “To make your breakfast cereal extra healthy, make it with semi-skimmed on skimmed milk, or go for plant milk such as oat, almond or soya milk.
“Top it with some chopped, fresh fruit to get extra vitamin C.
“Always read the labels on cereal boxes as cereals are notorious for hidden sugars.
“A green label means the cereal contains less than 1 percent sugar.”
Why a bowl of cereal every day could prolong your life
Much medical evidence now exists to support the health benefits of plant-based foods, which includes cereal.
Dr Lee said: “Grains are the seeds of grasses, which are manufactured into breakfast cereals.
“The word wholegrain means the entire seed – which comprises the bran, the germ, and the endosperm.
“In the milling process, when the seed is turned into flour, the bran and the germ are removed.
“The bran and the germ are especially rich in fibre, protein, vitamins, and minerals.”
We all know that you need to eat plenty of fibre such as cereals, but lots of us don’t realise the reason behind this.
The fibre content of the diet is crucial for gastrointestinal function, Dr Lee said.
The doctor explained: “Fibre bulks out the intestinal contents, keeping food moving through the digestive tract.
“It is also a prebiotic – acting as a substrate for many of the bacteria in the gut, hence a high fibre diet is associated with a healthy microbiome.
“Oats, for example, are also high in protein and provide a good source of vitamin B1 (thiamine), and minerals such as manganese, magnesium, and zinc.”
Whole grain cereals have a low or medium glycaemic index, which is a really positive thing for the waistline as well as your general health.
Dr Lee said: “A low glycaemic index means whole-grain cereals release their energy more slowly than high glycaemic foods, helping you feel fuller for longer, and less hungry.”
On top of this, whole grains also reduce the absorption of cholesterol from the gut contents.
Dr Lee explained: “The presence of the fibre in the stomach seems to delay gastric emptying, and affects the mixing and transport of intestinal contents, and may also affect the recycling of bile salts.”
Other benefits of eating whole-grain cereals include:
- Improved control of blood glucose
- Lower cholesterol
- Improved health of the lining of blood vessel walls
- Increased levels of vital antioxidants
- Lower levels of chronic inflammation.
- May help reduce the risk of type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer. Aids weight loss
Don’t fancy cereal? Whole grains also include the following food products:
- Wheat – this includes spelt and durum wheat
- brown rice and wild rice
- maize (corn)
- bulgur wheat
Wholegrains are made into commercially available products such as:
- wholemeal bread, wraps, pittas and chapatti
- wholegrain breakfast cereals
- wholewheat pasta
- rye bread and rye crackers
- oat cakes
- popped corn
- wholemeal flour
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