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WHOLE WHEAT- EXPLORING ITS IMPACT ON OUR GUT HEALTH

WHOLE WHEAT- EXPLORING ITS IMPACT ON OUR GUT HEALTH

 

Understanding the intricate relationship between our dietary choices, our gut health, and the impact it has on our overall wellbeing has become a topic of growing interest. Rightfully so because a perfectly working digestive system is hard to come by. Most people experience tummy troubles at some point, and this is completely normal considering it’s such an incredibly complex system. While we are out to find the next best solution for our gut health, why not take it back to basics? Whole wheat is not only a staple in many cultures worldwide, but it has emerged as one of the key contributors to promoting gut health due to its rich fibre content and micronutrient profile. 

 

THE HYPE ABOUT GUT HEALTH 

When we talk digestive/ gut health, we refer to the balance of live microorganisms in the digestive tract- and yes, it may sound strange, but we do have live microorganisms in our gut. When people speak about their microbiome, they are using an umbrella term for the trillions of microorganisms that live in and on your body. These extend throughout the gastrointestinal tract, and they form a little ecosystem, consisting of a greater number of cells than all the human cells in your body. Looking after the health of the gut and maintaining the right balance of these microorganisms plays a vital role in physical and mental health, immunity, and a whole lot more. 

 

HOW DO WE KEEP OUR GUT HEALTHY?

What we eat, our exercise patterns, as well as our lifestyle, including medication use, all impact our gut health. In terms of what we eat, there are three important components when we talk about gut health. We need to ensure that we consume sufficient prebiotics, probiotics and fibre. 

  • Prebiotics are fermented carbohydrates which have escaped digestion to meet their energy needs. In simple terms, they are food for our healthy microorganisms to feed on. Two of the most common forms are inulin and fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS).

  • Probiotics are microorganisms (live cultures) introduced into the body for their beneficial effects on health. They provide an army of ‘good’ bacteria in our digestive system.  
  • Finally, we need to consume sufficient dietary fibre. Dietary fibre, also known as roughage, plays a very important role in our daily diet. It is good for the digestive system and helps to keep you regular by providing bulk. Because fibre takes longer to digest, it helps to keep you feeling fuller for longer. A high fibre meal can keep you full for up to 3-4 hours, whereas a low fibre food could cause you to be hungry again within an hour. 

The American Heart Association recommends an intake of 25-30g dietary fibre from a variety of food sources (soluble fibre: nuts, seeds & barley + insoluble fibre: whole grains and vegetables). It is not always that easy to reach your recommended daily fibre intake. Try including vegetables, fruits, beans and legumes into as many meals and snacks as possible to help you reach your fibre requirements. Why not try the FUTURELIFE® Smart food™ WHEAT, which meets 25% of your daily fibre requirements?

 

WHAT CLASSIFIES AS WHOLE WHEAT?
When we refer to whole wheat, it means that the source of the wheat contains all three components of the grain, namely: 

  • Bran: this part of the grain is classified as the fibre-filled outer layer. The bran is also naturally high in B vitamins.
  • Germ: the germ is the nutrient-packed core that is rich in vitamin E, plant fats, B vitamins and phytochemicals.
  • Endosperm: the endosperm is the starchy carbohydrate middle layer which also contains some protein and plant fat.

Whole wheat contains the entire grain with all components still intact. The combination of bran and endosperm results in an excellent source of dietary fibre as well as antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.  

 

THE ULTIMATE QUESTION: HOW DO WHOLE WHEAT PRODUCTS IMPACT MY GUT?

What we consume in our daily diets can affect our gut microbiome by changing the amount and type of microorganisms in the gut. Consuming whole grain foods that are high in fibre can positively impact your gut microbiome. Whole grain food products, like whole wheat, are high in dietary fibre and a source of prebiotics. Prebiotic fibres have many benefits including: 

  • Reducing the pH of our gut creating an ideal environment for our good bacteria to grow and thrive.
  • Provides proteins of our gut by interacting with the gut barrier.
  • Assists in the absorption of minerals.
  • Acts as the food/ energy for our gut bacteria.

Including grains like whole wheat into your diet has shown to have positive effects on gut health. In a recent review, they found that consuming 6g of wheat bran per day promoted the diversity in the gut microbiota.  

Whole wheat plays a significant role in gut health by playing a role in nurturing our gut microbiome and supporting overall digestive function. Including some whole wheat products as part of a balanced and diverse diet offers nutritional benefits while supporting our gut microbiome. Our daily food choices can improve our gut health and help us embark on a journey towards enhanced wellbeing. Why not trust your gut and consume some more whole wheat?

 

WHERE DOES FUTURELIFEÂŽ FIT IN?
FUTURELIFE® Smart food™ WHEAT is scientifically formulated with whole wheat combined with the benefits of being high in Dietary Fibre, Energy, 19 Vitamins and Minerals, contains Inulin (Prebiotic) and MODUCARE® with the added benefit of 50% less sugar than the leading Whole Wheat RTE cereal in South Africa as at May 2021. It can be enjoyed as a meal, shake or smoothie at breakfast, lunch, dinner or as a snack. It can be mixed instantly with just water or milk and requires no cooking.


For more articles, meal plans, recipes or information on our products please visit www.futurelife.co.za

 

REFERENCES

 

BY: Bianca Jonischkeit /   DATE: February 2024

DATE OF NEXT REVIEW: February 2026

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