In today’s world, unhealthy diets are spread out and almost ubiquitous in the western world. It might seem impossible to find healthy alternatives to junk food that are tasty and, more importantly, affordable and easy to cook. The truth is, there are lots of healthy, whole-grain foods that are not only very good for you, but also prove to be delicious and very easy to cook. Here are some examples you can use to start your healthy grain diet.
1. Whole grain rye
As another healthy member of the wheat family, whole grain rye has been consumed for centuries. They’re considered more nutritious than wheat and they contain more minerals and fewer carbs, which is why they don’t elevate blood sugar as much. Whole grain rye is also extremely rich in fiber. Just one hundred grams contain an astonishing twenty-two grams of fiber, almost one hundred percent of recommended daily intake. Dietary fiber also slows down the absorption of carbs, which also reduce blood sugar spikes.
It comes in different forms like light, medium and dark, of which only dark is truly considered whole grain because it is unrefined. When shopping for the right type of grain, make sure that the label on the product reads “whole grain” to make sure that it doesn’t have refined rye grain in the mixture.
Although the name might deceive you, buckwheat has no connection to wheat, it’s a seed that is used in a similar way to grain. Buckwheat seeds are full of nutrients like vitamin B, fiber, copper, and other minerals that are used by our body. They are also a great source of what is called “resistant starch”, a kind of dietary fiber that feeds gut bacteria, which, when well fed, keep your digestive system healthy. Resistant starch is also good for improving blood sugar and reducing weight gain.
If you suffer from Crohn’s disease, you’ll be happy to know that buckwheat is naturally gluten-free, on top of all the other benefits that it provides. To cook this type of seed, add a cup of them and two cups of water for every cup of kernels, and cook to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until they are tender and proper.
Hailed as a superfood by western medicine, this South American grain is full of every kind of beneficial nutrient. The ancient grain is full of protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber in amounts greater than most other popular grains. Interestingly, it also contains a fair amount of anti-oxidants, like kaempferol and quercetin, which are used to neutralize free radicals, harmful leftovers from molecular oxidation. Antioxidants have been linked to improvements in chronic inflammatory diseases and heart disease, which is why grain buyers in Australia are dying to get in on the popular craze.
While it’s usually called a grain, quinoa is actually what is known as a “pseudo-grain”, meaning it’s colloquially called a grain and used as a grain in cereal. Whether it’s a grain or not, it’s proving to be the healthy superfood it has been advertised as.
4. Brown rice
Considered a much healthier and more flavorful alternative to its’ white counterpart, brown rice is a delicious and nutrient-rich grain. Unlike white rice, brown rice contains the whole grain, germ, bran, and endosperm included. What makes it so healthy is the bran which contains loads of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and even a good amount of anti-oxidants. A hundred grams of brown rice has thrice the amount of fiber ordinary white rice does.
A great carb option for a gluten-free diet, as it also occurs naturally without any gluten. Several compounds within brown rice have been linked to a healthier body and gut biome, like lignans, which are natural anti-oxidants that also reduce bad LDL cholesterol.
In conclusion, there are countless whole grain foods that you could and should be eating, all with different healthy aspects that will keep your gut and blood vessels clean. Even with a gluten-free diet, finding the right whole grain alternative is easily doable as long as you check the labels on the pack. Let’s not forget, whole grain food is also delicious when cooked and seasoned just right.