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Grains and Health: All You Need to Know

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Grains can be a great addition to any meal, from steel-cut oatmeal at breakfast to brown rice at lunch and quinoa at dinner. But maybe you’ve heard some negative things about grain, or you’re not sure what the healthiest choices are or how to pick the right products.

This article will cover just about all you need to know about grains and your health, from:

  • The healthiest grains
  • Sprouted grains and sprouting your own grains
  • Baking with sprouted grain flour
  • Drinking rejuvelac (made from grains) for digestion, energy and health
  • Eating grains as a diabetic
  • Whole-grain pastas
  • Arguments against grains
  • Instant oatmeal and health
  • Why quinoa isn’t a grain
  • How to choose healthy, whole-grain products
  • Whole-grain, vegan cold cereals and healthy hot cereal picks

Healthiest grains

Grains are consumed around the world, and most health experts say grains should be consumed every day. But which grains are the most nutritious?

The answer is whole grains, not refined or enriched grains. Whole grains are the entire grain, the way nature intended them to be.

Why are they healthier? Because the have more vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, antioxidants, phytochemicals and fiber. They help you digestive system and help you live longer, while also preventing type 2 diabetes, cancer and more.

Read, The Healthiest Grains for Vegans and Vegetarians, to find out the 10 healthiest and most available grains to choose and how much grain you should be consuming per day.

Sprouted grains

So whole grains, you got that, but there is actually a way to make whole grains even healthier. How? By sprouting them.

Grains are great sources of nutrients as we’ve covered, but our bodies have a hard time digesting them. Soaking and sprouting grains unlocks their health potential, makes them more digestible and more. In fact, sprouting actually turns grains into a vegetable instead of a starch, which is better for our bodies.

Traditional cultures used these techniques, but our modern society opted for quick consumption over health. Health tip for vegans and vegetarians: Sprouted grains are a complete protein and help ensure zinc and iron needs are being met.

Read, Sprouted Grains: Are They A Healthy Choice?, for more about sprouted grains, and why they are a healthy choice.

The healthiest way to bake with whole grains

For your vegan baking needs, the healthiest option is to choose whole-grain, sprouted flour. The flavor is more developed and not bitter like many whole-grain flours, and baking is the same as with other flour.

Read, 10 Reasons You Should Bake With Sprouted Grain Flour.

How to sprout your own grains

You can find sprouted-grain products in some stores and online, or you can sprout your own grains. The process isn’t too hard, and it’s inexpensive, so why not try it?

Read, The Easy DIY Guide to Sprouting Your Own Healthy Grains.

A fermented grain drink for your health

While we’re on the topic of sprouted grains, let’s discuss rejuvelac. You might be thinking, Rejuve-WHAT!? And, yes, it sounds weird and is a bit weird, but it’s a probiotic and a good digestive aid. This fermented liquid is made from grains, preferably the sprouted kind. You can buy it or try making your own.

Read, Drink (and Make) Rejuvelac for Improved Digestion, Health and Energy.

Grains and diabetes?

Grains have been shown to help prevent type 2 diabetes, but what if you already have diabetes or prediabetes, should you eat grains?

The answer is yes, you most likely should.

Read, A Guide to Consuming Grains for Diabetics and People with Blood Sugar Issues, to see which grains are best and how to reduce the glycemic load when eating grains.

Whole-grain pastas

Now onto pasta. Whole-grain pastas are healthier than the white varieties, and they can taste good with the right herbs, spices and sauces. Plus, sprouted-grain pastas are even better for you.

Read, Who Knew? Whole Grain Pastas Besides Whole Wheat, to discover some great whole-grain noodles you should try.

Arguments against grains

Some people argue against grains, saying our bodies aren’t equipped to handle them, that other foods are better. The two main arguments are Paleo and the Wheat Belly diet.

Read, Is Going Grain Free Better for Your Health?, to see why going grain free most likely isn’t the healthiest option.

Instant oatmeal

Instant oatmeal can be easy and delicious, but if you don’t watch out, it can quickly become more like dessert, with too much sugar and not enough goodness to fill you up.

Read, What You Need to Know About Instant Oatmeal And Your Health, for ways to make oatmeal healthier, how to make oatmeal a fast food without going instant and how to choose healthy instant oatmeal, with product picks.

Quinoa

OK, so quinoa isn’t a grain. It’s actually the seed of a plant, but if you want to call it a grain that’s fine, because it cooks like one and is often thought of as one.

Read, Guess What? Quinoa Isn’t A Grain, But It’s Still Healthy, to find out more about what quinoa is and why it’s healthy and popular.

How to choose healthy, whole-grain products

Choosing truly healthy, whole-grain products can be difficult, especially because many companies try to trick you with labels and colors.

Read, How To Choose Healthy, Whole-Grain Products, to find out how to choose healthy products online and at the store.

Whole-grain cereals

Whole-grain cereals are great. Whether you want, hot or cold ones, we’ve got your product picks.

Any questions about grains and health?

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

 

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