With the latest diet trends of Paleo, Primal or Keto diets, people are trying to avoid eating grains thinking that it might help with weight loss. When we think of grains, we tend to just link it to carbohydrates, but healthy grains have so many health benefits that we should still try to include some in our daily diet to keep it well-balanced. There is a huge difference between refined grains like biscuits and cakes or simple carbs like white bread and white rice and whole grains like quinoa and wild rice. Whole grains are rich in nutrients, help to lower cholesterol, blood pressure, reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Contrary to recent carb-phobia, research shows that eating whole grains can help with weight loss and weight balance. Studies have shown that people who consumed whole grains had less belly fat and smaller waist. The high-fibre content in whole grains help create a steady and slow release of energy to power our runs. Whole grains help to keep us feeling full, and prevent blood sugar spikes and crashes. When buying whole grains, look for the word “whole” on the ingredients list, not just “wheat”.
Top whole grains for healthy diets:
Amaranth: Rich in protein and minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium and phosphorus, good for healthy bones.
Barley: Contains more fibre than any other whole grain (8g/serving). It is also high in antioxidants and minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus (great for bone health), iron and potassium (important for healthy circulation).
Buckwheat: Contains high levels of zinc, copper, and manganese. It is also high in muscle-boosting protein and soluble fibre.
Farro: An ancient wheat grain very popular in Italy, and Mediterranean countries. Farro is a very tasty grain, high in fibre, protein and nutrients like magnesium and iron. Eating Farro helps to reduce the risk of stroke, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
Oats: By now we all know that oats have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers and asthma. It also is a good source of protein and healthy unsaturated fat.
Quinoa: This is one of the few grains that contain a complete protein, it also is higher in potassium than most grains (159mg/serving).
Rice (Brown, Black, Red): These types of rice are an excellent source of carbohydrates, high in fibre, and nutrients such as manganese and selenium which is important for carbohydrates and fat metabolism.
Rye: It contains a unique type of fibre- arabinoxylan. It is known for its antioxidants helps with fighting inflammation and ease muscle soreness. Research also has shown that rye helps with GI health.
Whole Wheat: One of the most popular grain, whole wheat helps reduce the risk of stroke, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, asthma and obesity.
Wild Rice: Contains twice the amount of protein and fibre as other types of rice, but less iron and calcium.
Another common trend in the past few years amongst many athletes that are not allergic to gluten is to follow gluten-free diets. Gluten-free foods do help with GI health for many people, the only issue is that many of the gluten-free foods contain refined carbs and added fats and sugar. Make sure you look at the ingredients list before buying gluten-free foods.
Train Hard, Eat Right, and Feel Great!