Most people know that whole grains are a vital component of a healthful diet; but does anyone know why? A food is considered “whole grain” when the actual seed of the plant is in its complete form and contains all three components; the endosperm, bran and germ. These components make a whole grain food rich in fiber, B vitamins, vitamin E, antioxidants and phytonutrients. White or refined grains are stripped of the bran and the germ, and left only with the endosperm, therefore lacking these vital nutrients. A recent study published in the British Medical Journal found that whole grain consumption is associated with a reduction in the risk of death caused by cancer, coronary heart disease, respiratory disease, infectious disease and diabetes. Researchers calculated that compared with eating none, eating 90g of whole grains per day reduced the risks for all causes of mortality by 17%.
A good question to now ask is how can I add more whole grains into my diet? Start by substituting white refined breads, cereals, pasta, rice, etc with whole grain products. Purchase products that say “100% Whole Grain” or “100% Whole Wheat” on the food package.
Here is a list of other whole grains that do not get the attention deserved.
Amaranth is particularly rich in manganese, magnesium, iron, and selenium. Amaranth grains, classified as seeds, cook into a thick creamy grain that go great paired with sautéed veggies.
Buckwheat is rich in iron, zinc and selenium, and is a good source of prebiotics which supports healthy digestion. Buckwheat is good when mixed in batters like muffins, pancakes, etc. or served cooked with sautéed veggies.
Barley is packed full of fiber, 6g per serving. Barley is best used paired with a soup recipe or mixed with sautéed veggies.
Kamut is packed full of protein, 10g of protein per serving and high amounts of magnesium and iron. Great as a side dish and mixed with other sweet and buttery veggies.
Rye is not only rich in magnesium, iron, protein and B vitamins, it’s also rich in polyphenols; a free radical which may play a role in preventing heart disease and cancer. Use rye flour in place of wheat flour or make homemade rye bread.
Please comment and post your personal whole grain recipes/ideas!