Do you know that some grains are healthier than some? It is very important to learn and know about the foods you eat so that you can choose the healthier options. Grains have been major source of food for humans for thousands of years even before civilization. There are different variety of grains with different nutritional content or value and the focus is low carb grains. Grains are gotten from cereal plants such as maize, millet, wheat, rice, barley, oats and sorghum. Grains have formed part of major diets in almost every country of the world and there are whole grains and refined grains.
Whole grains just as the name implies supplies all the nutrients contained in them because the bran (the outer layer) and germ (which contains core nutrients) have not been removed. Refined grains on the other hand have the bran and germ removed leaving only the endosperm which is the largest part and very high in carbohydrates. They have been refined to make different forms staples for consumption. Pasta, spaghetti, flour for every form of bread and pastries, white rice, different variety of cereals and cooking oats are all refined form of grains. Technology and machines are used in refining grains and a lot of nutrients especially is lost through removal of bran and germ, leaving finished food products high in calories or carbohydrates. Some refined grains like cereals mostly eaten as breakfast are fortified with vitamins and minerals. Here are some grains that are low in carbs and can form part of a low carb diet or healthy eating.
OATS : Oats is very nutritious cereal grains that are whole grains. They are low in carb and rich in protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They contain powerful soluble fiber called Beta-Glutan which helps to lower blood sugar, cholesterol and also makes one feel full. Studies also show that the bran of oats can help relief constipation in older people due to its high fiber content. They are consumed as oatmeal or porridge by simply boiling in water for some minutes with milk and honey added or rolled oats or baked as muffins or other forms of snacks.
BROWN RICE: This kind of rice is the whole grain version of rice with only the inedible outer hull removed. It contains complex carbohydrates which means that it will take longer time to breakdown and not quickly raise blood sugar. It is also very rich in fiber, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins which is much more and healthier than white rice that is high in starch with fewer nutrients. I usually soak this rice for hours before cooking to help soften it and make it easy to cook and yummy. It can be enjoyed with chicken and vegetable sauce or different other ways.
WILD RICE: This is a type of rice that can also be considered as a healthier replacement for white rice. It appears in different colors and flavors. It has 35g of carbs per 100g so you might want to consume a small portion if you are on a low carb diet. It is very rich in protein, Magnesium, vitamin B-6 and fiber. Just like brown rice, It is recommended that you soak wild rice for a couple of hours before cooking. It is a great addition to salads and meals.
QUINOA: These are seeds of a grain crop that are technically not cereals. They contain complex carbohydrates but are highly nutritious and deliver essential nutrients to the body. Quinoa is very high in fiber containing about 17 to 27g per cup. They are also naturally gluten free and rich in protein with all the essential amino acids. They are also very rich in antioxidants and minerals like Iron and magnesium. Another great thing about quinoa is that they can control blood sugar because they have low glycemic index.
BULGUR WHEAT: This is also a type of whole grain that delivers great nutritional benefits. It contains about 25% of carb per 100g and high amount of magnesium, Vitamin B-6, Iron, fiber, protein and potassium. The quality of nutrients in Bulgar wheat makes it a very great food option. Eaten in many ways, this wheat is partially boiled and dried. It is a major ingredient for Tabbouleh salad which is very popular food in the Middle East. I usually soak the wheat for about 30 minutes in hot water to use for salad.
HULLED BARLEY: This is the healthier option of barley because it is whole grain. It is loaded with lots of nutrients and increases twice in amount when cooked. Although hulled barley contains about 25% of carb per 100g, it also delivers a significant amount of manganese, magnesium, thiamine and selenium which is a soluble fiber to the body. Rich in antioxidants such as vitamin E, beta-carotene, luthein and zeazanthin.
Healthier options of food may not have the best texture or taste but they certainly help to keep you healthy. There are different ways of preparing and consuming these foods and finding your best way to eat them will make you enjoy them while feed your body with quality food.