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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Health benefits of whole-wheat grains

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By Modou S N’jie


The idea behind this column is to promote the culture of eating what we grow and growing what we eat. This column is proudly sponsored by FARM FRESH which is The Gambia’s first online Vegetables and Fruits Delivery service (www.farmfresh.gm) allowing anyone from within The Gambia or abroad to place orders online or via phone and have the items delivered to their doorsteps at home or at the office.  All the vegetables are locally grown (organic). 

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It goes without saying that a healthy mind can only be found in a healthy body. There is also a saying which appears simple but is in fact deep in meaning, “YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT”. 

“When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. When diet is correct, medicine is of no need.” Ancient

Earthian Ayurvedic Proverb. It is for these reasons Farm Fresh is happy to partner with Gambia Tourism and Hospitality Institute, in order to create awareness and acceptance of our locally grown vegetables and fruits. Understanding what we eat and how we eat plays a significant role in our overall health and well-being. 

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This week we will take a look at the health benefits of whole-wheat grains in our diets. We are also happy to share some easy to make whole-wheat grains recipes for your family and businesses and we hope you will find this article interesting. Thank you and welcome to the journey towards healthy eating. Remember the slogan ”You are what you Eat”. 

What are whole grain wheats?

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Whole grain wheats or whole wheat contains the entire grain, including the fibrous husk, bran and endosperm. Conversely, regular wheat is stripped of the husk and bran, which are loaded with nutrients. When these are stripped of it lost a huge amount of nutrients, because that is where its fiber contents are found. It is important to note that whole wheat grains are healthier than white/processed grains. In the Gambia, most people use white/processed grains which contains apparently less nutritional values compared to the whole grain wheats. 

Types of whole grains

There are different amazing grains with amazing health benefits and nutritional values such as; whole oats, whole wheats, buckwheat, bulgur(cracked)

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wheat, millet, barley, spelt, brown rice, corn, whole wheat pasta. 

Nutritional facts of whole grain wheats

1. Carbohydrates

Whole grain wheats are mainly composed of carbohydrates. Starch is the predominant carbohydrate in the plant kingdom. Its health effect mainly depends on its digestibility, which determines its effect on blood sugar levels.

2. Fiber 

Whole wheat grains are high in fiber but refined/processed wheats contains almost less, as they are concentrated in the bran, fibers are removed during the milling processed and are largely absent from the processed grains. 

3. Protein 

There is protein present in whole grain wheats in the form of gluten, it is the protein in whole grain wheats. It is responsible for the unique elasticity and stickiness of wheat dough. It can how ever have adverse health effects in people with gluten intolerance.

4. Vitamins and minerals

Whole wheat grains are a good source of several vitamins and minerals. As most cereal grains, the amount of minerals depends on the soil in which it’s grown. 

Health benefits of whole grain wheats

1. Lowers risk of heart diseases: one of the health benefits of whole grains is that they lower your risk of heart disease, which is a leading cause of death worldwide. 

2. Lowers risk of stroke: whole grains helps a lot in lowering your risks of stroke. Certain compounds in whole grains such as fiber, vitamin k, and antioxidants can reduce the risks of stroke.

3. Reduces risk of obesity: eating fiber-rich foods can help fill you up and prevent overreacting. This is one reason high-fiber diets are recommended for weight loss. Whole grains and products made from them are more filling than refined grains, and they may lower your risk of obesity. 

4. Supports healthy digestion: the fiber in whole grains can support healthy digestion in various ways. Fiber helps give bulk stools and lowers your risk of constipation. Some types of fiber in grains act as prebiotics.  


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Oatmeal cookies

o          Ingredients

o          Oat

o          Banana


1.         Preheat oven to 350F. lightly spray/grease the baking pan.

2.         In a medium bowl, mash the bananas with a fork until almost no lumps remain (mixture should be almost liquid if using really ripe bananas). Stir in oats until well-blended. Let mixture stand for 5 minutes. Mix in any optional ingredients, if using.

3.         Drop by heaping teaspoon onto prepared baking sheet about 1 inch apart. Sprinkle with any toppings, if using.

4.         Bake in preheat oven for 13 to 15 minutes until golden brown and firm to touch at the center. Transfer to cooling rack and cool completely.

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Whole-wheat pasta served with tomato sauce

o          Ingredients

o          Olive oil

o          Garlic

o          Onion

o          Fresh tomato

o          Chili powder

o          Sugar 

o          Salt

o          Corn flour 

o          Milk 

o          Whole-wheat pasta

o          Oregano 

o          Capsicum

Cooking instructions

1.         Take a non-stick pan and add chopped garlic in it after few seconds add onions and cook until they change their color to golden.

2.         Add tomato pulp in the same pan and sugar. Sugar will not sweeten the paste, it only helps to balance the flavor. Mix it well.

3.         In a separate bowl, mix corn flour and water according to the amount given above. Pour this mixture in the pan. Corn flour will help thicken the tomato sauce.

4.         Add low-fat milk. Stir it occasionally so a smooth thick sauce is formed.

5.         In a separate pan, pour some olive oil. Add garlic after few seconds add capsicum and sweet corn. Season it will paprika. Mix well and cook 2-3 minutes.

6.         Add pasta and mix it well with vegetables and corn.

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