List of 10 Unusual Healthy Grains to Add to a Nutritious Diet
Besides adding a punch to your highly nutritional diet, eating whole grains over refined grains has numerous health advantages as well. Studies have shown that eating two ½ cup servings of whole grains daily can significantly reduce the chances of contracting certain cancers, cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes. A healthy diet consisting of whole grains has also been shown to reduce abdominal fat which, when accumulated in the body in excess, can lead to high blood pressure, insulin resistance and elevated cholesterol levels.
Although oatmeal and quinoa are excellent healthy diet choices, they can be tiresome to eat every day. Following is a list of 10 unusual healthy grains which make good alternatives and can boost and enhance your nutritional meals.
Healthy Grain #1 – Millet – Millet is a good protein source, containing 6 grams per 1 cup serving and helps to balance glucose levels and, therefore, energy levels. It can be prepared like rice or ground into flour for baking.
Healthy Grain #2 – Barley – This is a versatile grain which can be placed in soups or ground into flour for baking. Barley is high in fiber which helps to lower cholesterol and prevent some diseases.
Healthy Grain #3 – Spelt – Similar to wheat, spelt packs more of a protein punch and is a nutritious favorite to substitute for wheat flour. Some studies suggest that spelt should be avoided by those with gluten intolerance.
Healthy Grain #4 – Indian Rice Grass – This staple of Native American meals is incredibly high in protein (17 grams in 2/3 cup serving) and fiber (24 grams each of both insoluble fiber and dietary fiber). You may want to mix Indian rice grass with other flours since it has a very strong wheat flavor. It can be found in supermarkets under the brand name Montina.
Healthy Grain #5 – Bulgur – A derivative of wheat, bulgur contains 8 grams of fiber in a 1 cup serving which is higher than oats, corn, buckwheat, quinoa and millet. It goes well with a variety of dishes and takes about the same time to cook as pasta.
Healthy Grain #6 – Amaranth – Amaranth is a powerhouse of nutritional value. Higher in fiber than even bulgur at 21% DV per 1 cup serving, it also contains a good amount of calcium, magnesium, lysine and squalene, a substance which shows promise of preventing certain types of cancer. It is also high in protein at 9 grams per cup and may help to lower cholesterol.
Healthy Grain #7 – Teff – This tiny grain is high in vitamin C (not usually found in grains) and calcium (12% DV per cup) and is gluten-free. Teff consists mainly of resistant starch which has been found in studies to prevent colon disease as well as keep you feeling fuller longer. Due to its small size, teff cooks quickly.
Healthy Grain #8 – Freekeh – Freekeh is wheat that has been harvested early and then roasted. On the glycemic index, it rates low, is high in fiber and has four times the amount of protein as brown rice. Freekeh is prepared much the same way as rice.
Healthy Grain #9 – Fonio – High in nutritional value, this smaller type of millet is chock full of amino acids, particularly cystine and methionine. Fonio also contains some of the highest amounts of zinc, manganese and magnesium of any other grain. It is recommended that Fonio only be eaten in modest amounts due to one recent study which links eating large amounts to hypothyroidism and even possibly autism in children when pregnant mothers eat too much.
Healthy Grain #10 – Triticale – This is a hybrid mix of rye and wheat which has high amounts of antioxidants and assists with lowering cholesterol. Triticale is normally added to healthy cereals either as a flake or in berry form.
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