If you tune into health news at all, you know that there are a wide range of popular diets and currently making headlines. There’s keto and paleo, which advocate for low to no grains, as well as vegetarian and vegan diets, which are fine with grains but avoid animal products, and then other options such as Weight Watchers and Trim Healthy Mama advocate for a balanced, whole foods approach.
So, to grain or not to grain? That is the question. Being a website centered around baking, it probably won’t surprise you to hear us advocate for including grains into your diet. In honor of September, which is national whole grains month we wanted to share a little bit about the six best whole grains to rotate into your diet. Keep reading to learn more!
What is a Whole Grain?
Whole grains are the unprocessed version of any given grain. One of the reasons that carbs are often vilified by fad diets is that so many people consume mainly processed grains, which are low in nutrients and high in calories. To qualify as a whole grain, an ingredient must still contain the bran, germ, and endosperm present at the time of harvest. These parts of the grain have been shown to include more fiber, lower your risk of heart disease and keep you feeling fuller, longer than refined grains.
6 Best Whole Grains For a Healthy Diet
Wheat is the most commonly consumed grain in America, and at most fast food restaurants you’ll find only refined grains or whole grain imposters. To ensure you’re consuming whole grain wheat, look for 100% whole wheat as the first ingredient in your breads and cereals.
Whole Brown Rice
It’s fairly easy to switch your pantry from white to brown rice. Although this grain takes a bit more cooking-time than white rice, you’ll find the nutty taste and nutrition boost is worth the wait.
Making whole oats at home is easy and effortless both on the stovetop and in the microwave. They’re an easy inclusion in breakfast as well as treats, baked goods and more. To ensure you’re purchasing whole oats, look for “old fashioned” oats on the label. If you can’t tolerate gluten, look for oats labelled as gluten-free to ensure they have not been processed in facilities that also process gluten.
Quinoa may be hard to pronounce, but it’s fairly easy to prepare and integrate into your diet. This whole grain has experienced a big popularity surge over the last decade and can be found in almost every grocery store. Quinoa is naturally gluten-free and is rich in antioxidants, magnesium, iron, B vitamins, vitamin E potassium, and calcium.
Whole Grain Bulgur
Whole grain bulgur is rich in fiber, thiamine, B6, and folate. Bulgur has been shown to help lower cholesterol when eaten regularly. If you’re looking for a few ideas to integrate bulgur into you diet, try a quick tabbouleh salad which also includes cucumbers and tomatoes.
Whole Grain Barley
Barley is one of the oldest grains in history and thanks to its versatility can be easily incorporated into any meal from breakfast to dinner. Eating barley could help support healthy bones, reduce inflammation, and may reduce your risk of certain cancers.
What are your favorite whole grains, and how do you prepare them? Tell us all about it in the comments section below!
Photo by Artur Nasyrov on Unsplash