Five Healthy Whole Grains You Should Add To Your Diet
Refined grains get a bad rap because they are associated with high amounts of carbohydrates and are believed to make the average American fat. Additionally, refined carbs found in white flour, white bread and pasta, among others, can increase the risk of diabetes and heart diseases. That being said, many people choose to completely stir away from grains. However, not all grains are bad.
Whole grains are hearty cereal grains that are unrefined and contain all three parts of the kernel – the bran, germ, and endosperm. They are healthier than the refined variety as they are packed with higher amounts of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals, and dietary fiber. So even though many people believe that they shouldn’t eat grains, health experts still agree that whole grains should be a part of a healthy diet.
Whether you are trying to lose weight, gain muscle mass, or just be overall healthier, here are five of the healthiest whole grains that you should add to your diet.
Among the most popular whole grains, whole wheat is an excellent source of magnesium and dietary fiber. Packed with manganese, copper, and panthothenic acid, this whole grain is known to combat metabolic syndrome and can substantially lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. Additionally, whole wheat is high in B vitamins and vitamin E, and is significantly low in fat.
Incorporate whole wheat into your diet by switching your typical white bread into the whole wheat variety – this doesn’t just generally make your everyday bread healthier, it also packs your body with double the amount of fiber.
Whole rye is a very nutrient-dense type of whole grain. In fact, it is proven that this grain has more nutrients per 100 calorie serving compared to any other whole grains. Whole rye has five times more fiber and is a rich source of iron. On top of that, rye can essentially aid in weight-loss, prevent gallstones, and improve your body’s insulin sensitivity, thus moderating blood sugar levels.
Toss in some [cooked] whole rye along with your choice of veggies and berries, and a light dash of vinaigrette for a fiber-rich lunch that will keep you full for hours.
A healthy breakfast staple, oats are a type of whole grain rich in beta-glucan, a fiber known to lower levels of bad cholesterol. Some of this grain’s many health benefits include lower blood pressure, stabilized blood sugar levels, and improved digestion. Essentially, oats keep you feeling fuller, thus making weight loss possible. Moreover, these grains are free from gluten but are also a great source of copper, vitamin B1, magnesium, zinc, protein.
Instead of buying instant oatmeal, opt for the whole oat variety. They may take a few minutes longer to cook, but they surely contain all the nutrients your body needs to jumpstart your mornings.
A versatile cereal with a nut-like flavor profile, barley is among the healthiest grains out there. This chewy, pasta-like whole grain is packed with fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin B6, and calcium. Additionally, barley contains selenium, a type of mineral that is rarely present in most foods. This mineral prevents inflammation and is known to detoxify and fight cancer-causing compounds in the body.
Although barley is usually tossed into soups to make them more hearty, these grains can also be used to make your burgers extra healthy. Check out this beef and barley burger recipe.
One of the biggest reasons why you should always choose brown over the white variety is that brown rice contains triple the nutrients present in white rice. Compared to its refined, white counterpart, brown rice is a slow-sugar release grain that helps stabilize blood sugar levels, making it an excellent option for those who suffer diabetes. With only 111 calories per serving, this healthy grain is also packed with selenium, manganese, and antioxidants.