Experts recommend incorporating more fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains into one’s diet. People prioritizing a healthy diet often get lots of fruits and veggies but not always enough healthy foods that are grains. Whole grains have a huge role in generating energy, upholding strong metabolism, and supplying our body with what it needs to thrive.
Grain has immense benefits for the heart and cardiovascular health as well. There are healthy foods that are grains that you may consider incorporating into your weekly diet and lifestyle plan. Here is a list of the eleven best healthy foods that are grains:
Barley is a type of cereal grain that is used in bread, beverages, and stews. It has lots of fibre, vitamins, and minerals and is a whole grain. Among the benefits of barley is hunger-reduction, providing insoluble and soluble fibre to help digestion along, may reduce the risk of gallstones, and may help lower cholesterol.
Like all grains on this list, barley is a good source of complex carbohydrates. However, the barley needs to maintain a high standard of quality when harvested. That’s why farmers use grain bin temperature monitoring systems to ensure their quality is preserved during the storage process. Barley will retain its nutrients with proper storage methods.
Quinoa is one of the world’s healthiest foods. Quinoa is rich in protein, dietary fibre, B vitamins, and dietary minerals at a far higher level than most other whole grains. A cup of quinoa has twice the protein and 5 grams more fibre than the same amount of white rice. Quinoa is considered a ‘pseudo-grain,’ meaning that they resemble grains in appearance but do not have the usual characteristics that would make them a grain.
3. Brown Rice
Brown rice is another whole grain. Unlike white rice, a refined grain, brown rice contains the bran and the germ, alongside several vitamins and minerals. It is less processed than white rice, often seen as healthier because it’s more nutrient-dense. It may help lower blood sugar levels and aid in weight management.
Buckwheat is not closely related to wheat, despite its name, and is a highly nutritious grain. Buckwheat is typically used to cultivate its seeds and cover crop. It is also considered a ‘super-food’ and extremely nutritious, associated with improving heart health, promoting weight loss, and helping manage chronic conditions such as diabetes.
Bulgur, aka cracked wheat, comes from whole-grain kernels of wheat that are parboiled and dried. Bulgur looks very similar to quinoa. However, the difference is quinoa is a seed and not cracked wheat. Bulgur has one of the nuttier flavours of the whole grain family and is comparable nutrient-wise to brown rice.
Millet is a small and round whole grain typically grown in India, Nigeria, and other countries throughout Africa and Asia. It is an ancient grain cultivated in those areas for centuries. Millet is packed with potassium, magnesium, and protein in a single serving. It has a mild corn flavour and cooks similarly to rice and quinoa.
Oatmeal is a type of cereal grain, referring to the edible seeds of oat grass, which is what you’ll discover in any breakfast bowl of oatmeal. Oatmeal is high in fibre and is one of the better breakfast suggestions, far better than any sugar cereal. The oats used have been dehusked, steamed, and flattened. Hence the flat look them when you open a bag.
Yes, popcorn is a type of corn kernel and whole grain. Once popped, it is a very healthy snack, free from any fat and isn’t as calorie-dense as other grains. Consuming high-fibre popcorn is associated with a lower risk of conditions and diseases, from heart disease to diabetes, some cancers, and more. There is, arguably, no healthier low-calorie snack than plain popcorn.
Whole grain bread is superior to white bread, which is far more processed. Nutrient-dense whole grain bread has lots of fibre and nutrients, such as B vitamins, iron, folate, selenium, potassium, magnesium, and more. It’s very good for you, up to 3-4 servings daily, especially regarding lowering blood pressure, strengthening the immune system, and controlling weight.
Whole grain pasta has a heartier flavour and texture than white flour pasta. When you consume whole grain pasta, you get a lot of nutrients, including fibre, manganese, selenium, copper, and phosphorus. Though it is slightly refined, it is not as processed as white flour pasta and tends to be slightly lower in calories and higher in iron.
Whole-grain crackers are healthy but in moderation. Although most crackers use enriched wheat flour, there is a range of choices, with some being healthier than others. Typically, crackers are low in fibre and high in sodium and probably won’t keep you full for long. Try to seek out whole-grain crackers that are high in fibre and low sodium, or cook up a fresh bowl of popcorn instead.