Is Bran For Breakfast Healthy?
As per the “Bran Believer’s” diet, you need to consume bran in each meal of the day, breakfast included. In fact, several whole food proponents swear by this product and treat it as something next to elixir. However, physicians call this an exaggeration and claim that excess intake of bran can to lead health disorders. So, what is true, should you regularly have bran for breakfast or stick to a much more “Normal Meal” in the morning? Read on to find out.
As per definition bran is one of the outer most layer of cereal grains that usually is removed during the refining process. The bran supplements available in the market are usually devoid of any additives. Wheat, oat, and rice bran are the most commonly available varieties and their nutrient values are given below…
Almost all commercial bran supplements are fortified with trace elements. They can provide up to 50% RDA values for iron and 7% RDA values for calcium.
Health benefits of eating Bran for breakfast:
·Direct source of fiber
Bran by definition is one of the outer layers of whole grains. Each serving of bran provides a minimum of 14 gm of dietary fiber, which meets nearly 50% of the total daily needs of this nutrient. Since, an average American consumes less than 20 gm of fiber as compared to the RDA values, which stand at 25 gm to 32 gm, bran acts as an important inclusion in one’s diet.
The fiber present in bran absorbs water and works as a bulking agent in intestinal tract. It adds bulk to stools, softens them, and allows the feces to pass more easily. Moreover, it binds to toxins present in the food and helps to detoxify the body, thus, playing a major role in upkeep of the GI health.
·Keeps Lifestyle related diseases at bay
Several studies have shown that adequate consumption of fiber helps prevent a medley of diseases including colorectal cancers, type 2 diabetes, cardio vascular diseases, and nephritic disorders. Bran being a major source of insoluble dietary fiber plays a vital role in preventing these diseases.
·Prevents unhealthy mid-morning snacking
The insoluble fiber present in bran absorbs water and acts as gastric filler; as a result, a person ends up eating less per meal. Moreover, bran rich meal is known to have higher satiety value, that is they keep a person full for a longer time. This prevents unhealthy mid morning snacking. The two actions together effectively work towards the weight loss goals of a person.
·Good source of essential fatty acids
Rice bran is a rich source of essential omega fatty acids. Rice bran enriched meals are high in antioxidant action and help prevent free radical damage of cells and reduce the rate of cell aging. This in turns helps prevent several diseases, including CVDs, certain types of cancers, and arthritis.
Side effects of eating Bran:
Excess of everything can damage your health. Likewise, even though, bran is promoted as one of the healthiest inclusions, it is not without side effects.
·Can aggravate diarrhea
While bran is an effective cure to constipation, it is highly contraindicated to people suffering from diarrhea. The high fiber content in this food, which acts as stool softeners in regular doses, can lead to resorbtive diarrhea if consumed in excess.
·Unsuitable for gluten restricted diet
Wheat bran, the most common form of bran available in the market is a rich source of gluten and is highly contraindicated for people suffering from gluten allergies and/or IBS disorder. Consumption of bran can lead to a series of symptoms in these people ranging from indigestion and flatulence to fatal anaphylactic attacks.
·Can cause bloating and flatulence
Bran acts a prebiotic in the large intestine, i.e., it is used up as food by the natural micro-flora present in the gut. These bacteria produce gas as a by-product of their metabolic action. Thus, excessive consumption of fiber causes in accumulation of these gases and resulting in painful bloating and embarrassing flatulence.
·Can cause constipation
Bran is a concentrated source of dietary fibers. Studies have shown that continued daily intake of high doses of fibers coupled with low water intake results in hard, uncomfortable stools.
However, one must remember that most of these side effects are a cause of excessive intake and moderate consumption of bran as a part of a balanced diet need not be considered as unhealthy. On the other hand, even though, bran is healthy and provides the all so important dietary fibers, it is better to limit its consumption. One can instead increase whole food intake to meet their daily fiber needs.