The healthiest whole grains discussed here are a major source of energy among the different food types we have. The hard edible seeds called grains are an important part of a healthy diet and they naturally contain fibres that make you feel full easily. However, it is important to note that all grains are not the same. Some have more nutritional benefits than others. Grains can be either whole, refined or enriched.
Why Your Body Needs the Healthiest Whole Grains
Whole grains are the richest grain types with all parts of the seed (bran, germ, and endosperm) still intact and they also contain all the necessary nutrients. Refined grains, as the name implies have been milled, and have lost their bran and germ, alongside some important nutrients. Enriched grains are simply refined grains artificially fortified with the lost nutrients.
Because whole grains are the most nourishing of all grain types, this article will reveal some of the healthiest whole grains that your body needs.
Healthiest Whole Grains You Should Try
The nutritional benefits of whole grains cannot be over-emphasized. Most of the best whole grains listed below are easy to find and you can eat them at any time of the day either for breakfast lunch or dinner. Also, some of them look similar, but they are all unique and different.
One special feature of oatmeal is that it is easy to include in any breakfast routine and it is very easy to make. Due to its high fibre content, it helps regulate blood sugar, hence, a good meal option for people with type 2 diabetes. A study carried out by USDA revealed that A1C levels, cholesterol, and fasting glucose levels were greatly reduced in diabetes patients who ate oats.
2. Brown Rice
Is rice a whole grain? Yes, it is and brown rice is one of the best available rice types. While comparing it to white rice, research showed that if you replaced one-third of your daily white rice serving with brown rice, your chances of having type 2 diabetes will reduce by sixteen per cent.
Also, brown rice is a good source of magnesium which helps to regulate nerve and muscle function, blood sugar level, and blood pressure. Hence, it is a good food choice if you hope to feed healthily.
This ancient grain that some people often refer to as a cereal is actually classified under pseudocereal. Because we consume it in a way similar to other whole grains, some people believe it to be one. Millet is one of the earliest foods of man, and it is common in most African countries, and other countries like China, India, etc.
Of greater importance is its rich nutritional content. In addition to the natural absence of gluten, it contains high magnesium, zinc, manganese, vitamin B, potassium, iron, and fibre.
N/B: Gluten is a type of protein that can lead to harmful immune responses in some people.
Although some people argue against it, corn is a highly nutritional grain. It ranks high on the list of the healthiest whole grains foods. However, its frequent use in the manufacturing of unhealthy foods seems to have given it a bad name. Also, some people prefer to refer to it as a vegetable rather than a grain.
Nonetheless, corn is a whole grain that is rich in antioxidants. You can eat it straight from the cob or toast it into popcorn, depending on the species. You can find it in different colours including white, yellow, blue, and purple.
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5. Wild Rice
If you want rice that is even better than brown rice, then try out wild rice. It contains more dietary fibre and protein than brown rice. One cup of uncooked wild rice contains 160 calories, 35 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of protein, and 3 grams of dietary fibre.
6. Whole Wheat
Firstly, you should note that not all kinds of wheat are whole. It is therefore important to be specific when you want to buy wheat or wheat-containing products, so you do not end up with refined wheat. The wheat grain is very common as it serves as a major ingredient in most baked foods.
The grain is rich in antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and dietary fibre. However, it also contains gluten which makes it a controversial food. But, if you are tolerant of gluten, you should not deprive yourself of the many other benefits that it offers.
You can cook, pop, or make Sorghum into flour. If you cook it, it has a chewy texture. It is a pint-sized version of popcorn when you pop it. And you can use its flour for baking. People started to see this grain as one of the healthiest whole grains in recent times because of its gluten-free quality. In the past, it was grown as livestock feed in the United States.
Amaranth is another gluten-free whole grain. It is very small in size and contains a high level of protein – about fourteen per cent to fifteen per cent higher than the content of other whole grains like rye and buckwheat. This makes it one of the best whole grains foods to try. Apart from protein, amaranth also has high magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese content.
The major benefit of this grain is its high fibre content. This makes it another good food choice for patients suffering from type 2 diabetes. Another reason why barley is among the healthiest whole grains is that it increases the number of good bacteria in the gut and helps in releasing hormones that are essential for normal body functioning. You can process this grain into flour and in turn, use it in baking foods like bread.
Buckwheat is a gluten-free high soluble fibre. This means that it is helpful in blood cholesterol regulation and blood glucose management. Additionally, it is rich in copper, magnesium, and manganese. One-quarter cup of buckwheat contains 160 calories, 34 grams of carbohydrate, 5 grams of protein, and 5 grams of dietary fibre.
This grain can be used in making Japanese noodles (soba noodles), granola, crepes, or pancakes. It can also be eaten as cereal (Kasha).
Although small in size, it has massive nutritional benefits. Teff is an ancient grain, a type of millet, but it is gluten-free. It is unique because of its high calcium and iron content. Thanks to its size, it can be baked into energy bars and bread.
When eating whole grains, it is important to try different grain types so that you can leverage their different nutritional benefits and also enjoy different meals. This makes your diet interesting. With this in mind, we have provided you with a list of the best and healthiest whole grains foods from which you can choose.
Let us know which of these grains is your favourite and which one you will like to try out first. Feel free to leave your suggestions in the comment section below.