Whole grains support healthy digestion and may lower your risk for digestive diseases and some cancers
The fiber in whole grains can play a huge role in keeping your digestive system healthy. Fiber adds bulk to your stool and prevents constipation. One 2015 study showed that fiber from cereal grains and fruit was especially beneficial for protecting gut health.
This is important because bowel regularity not only makes your belly happy; it also lowers your risk for digestive conditions, including diseases like colorectal cancer. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, whole grains contain unique anticancer compounds like resistant starch (fiber your body doesn’t digest), polyphenols, saponins, and phytic acid that may prevent and slow the development of cancer.
According to one meta-analysis of studies, consumption of an average of approximately six ounces of whole grains per day reduced colorectal cancer risk by 21%.
Now, consider for a moment that 1.4 million people will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer worldwide this year. What we’re seeing is that if the average human ate just six ounces of whole grains per day, we might be able to prevent 294,000 cases of colorectal cancer every year.
Fiber also benefits your gut health in other ways. Research shows that certain types of fiber in whole grains act as prebiotics — food for probiotics, the good bacteria in your gut. Maintaining a healthy gut microbiome is important for digestive health.