By now you probably already know the benefits of a diet rich in whole grains, but how to get the healthy whole grains your body craves? And, for that matter, what are some of the whole grains you might not have heard of, let alone tried and enjoyed? My dear, as a lover of whole grains, and as someone who’s willing to try just about anything (at least once), I can help. Here are 7 healthy whole grains to enjoy.
This is my personal favorite of the healthy whole grains. It’s contains a kind of fiber called beta-glucan (incredibly effective in lowering cholesterol) and antioxidants called avenanthramides (to protect blood vessels from the damage done by LDL “bad” cholesterol). Oats are also nutty and sweet, so they’re easy to find in breakfast cereals.
Want a dose of complete proteins with your healthy whole grains? Then give quinoa (keen-wah) a try! It’s showing up all over, in cereal flakes and in rice-like side dishes. It’s especially easy to add to soups, giving them a unique texture. Quinoa is rapidly becoming a staple for vegetarians, who need the compete proteins and who want a unique texture and wholesome flavor.
That’s right — your favorite movie-night snack is a healthy whole grain, especially if it’s air-popped and not doused with butter, cheese, chocolate, or caramel. A dash of salt and this healthy whole grain is ready for whatever TV show, movie, or book you’re into.
4. Whole Wheat
We mostly see this healthy whole grain in breads, but it can show up in other places, too, like whole wheat pasta, and even in beer! This is often the first whole grain we think of, perhaps because it’s so ingrained (pun intended) into our national identity, with those “amber waves of grain” from the national anthem?
Barley is one of the oldest cultivated grains we know of, landing it a spot on my list of historically significant healthy whole grains. It’s very rich in fiber, and it’s very slow-cooking, due to its incredibly thick, tough hull. Some health food stores carry products that are labeled “lightly pearled barley,” meaning some of the bran is missing due to the hulling process. This “pearled” barley isn’t technically a whole grain, but it’s still far better for you than other refined grains. To make sure you’re getting the whole grain barley, look for labels that say “whole barley” or “hulled barley” or “hull-less barley.”
6. Brown Rice
Far richer, nuttier, and tastier than its refined white rice counterpart, brown rice is another hearty, healthy whole grain. Serve it as a side dish with a dash of your favorite spices, or use it in a vegetable stir fry. Either way, you’ll love it!
The humble rye, once viewed as an annoying weed, has recently become a favorite healthy whole grain among diabetics and among dieters. Why? Because rye is extremely high in fiber, making it very low on the glycemic index (good for diabetics) and very filling (good for dieters, who want to feel fuller, longer). If you’re not sure the bread or other product you’re buying has whole grain fiber, look in the ingredients for “whole rye” or “rye berries.”
I la-la-love buckwheat pancakes! Buckwheat is also found in Japanese soba noodles, in Russian kasha, and in crepes from Brittany in France. Aren’t some of these your favorite foods already? Who knew you were already enjoying this healthy whole grain?
Who knew there were so many healthy whole grains to choose from? Move over, tasteless, boring refined grains — these healthy whole grains are here to stay! Which of these whole grains is your favorite? How do you enjoy it? Or is there another healthy whole grain you like more? Do tell!