With The Grain. Part One.
It seems as of late that more people are making a conscious effort to eat more whole grains. But there are tons of whole grains out there and it can be intimidating. Where do you start? What can you do with them once you start looking? There are more then 20 whole grains available for you to try. I’ll be introducing them this week and what you can do with them.
Whole grains are easy to cook with and are loaded with health benefits. Whole grain contains three parts of the grain: the bran, the endosperm, and the germ. These 3 components keep you feeling full because they take longer to digest. Perfect for those who are watching their weight or on a diet. It can also keep your blood pressure in check and regulate your blood-sugar levels. And grains are pretty inexpensive. Like tofu, they have the ability to soak up whatever flavors you cook them with. Think of them like a flavor sponge. Here are a few grains to try.
One of the more known grains, Barley comes both hulled and pearled in many varieties. Barley is a good source of fiber and selenium. Serves as a good source of copper, manganese, and minerals phosphorous. It takes about an hour to cook, but you can shorten that time by soaking it in water for a few hours before cooking. Barley is chewy, starchy with a bit of a snap. Try adding barley in a soup. It soaks up liquid like a sponge, so you may have to continuously add more liquid. Orzo is barley in Italian, so you can try making a barley risotto.
A tiny gluten-free grain which is produced in India, Africa and China is high in magnesium. This mineral aids in nerve and muscle function. A good source of minerals phosphorous, manganese, and magnesium. Eating millet may provide heart-protective properties. The millet’s flavor resembles corn with a grassy taste like quinoa. This is one of the easier grains to prepare, with no presoaking time. Cooks in about 30 minutes. You can toast it in a skillet to deepen the nutty flavor. Millet can be used in stuffing or into muffin and cornbread mixtures. Can also be made into a porridge-like dish.
3. Brown Rice
Brown rice is the like the introduction to whole grains. When we think whole grains, brown rice is associated with it. It comes in short, medium, long grain. The hull is removed making it more nutritious than white rice. An excellent source of manganese and minerals selenium and magnesium. Brown rice may provide antioxidant protection. If you normally eat white rice, try mixing the 2 rices together. Brown rice has a great nutty flavor when cooked. Brown rice also makes a great salad with fruit and nuts.
4. Rye Flakes
Rye flakes are tangy in flavor but the texture is more like rolled oats. Rye flakes can beat eaten like oatmeal, so try switching over to rye flakes from oatmeal instead. Can be used to make granola or folded into your favorite dessert recipe.
It is important to eat five or more servings of whole grains every day. If given the choice, whole grain would be a better replacement over refined grain like white bread, white flour, white rice. Eating whole grains can help reduce your risk for cancer, heart disease, high cholesterol, stroke, bowel disorders, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. Whole grain foods are excellent sources of complex carbohydrates, low in fat, high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and other healthy nutrients.
Consider incorporating more whole grain into your daily diet. If you’re thinking of bulk buying these grains, remember to store them in a cool area. You can also store them in the fridge or freezer. They really soak up a lot of flavor in whatever you add them, so make your recipe accordingly. Remember to salt them generously as it will bring out more flavors. If you cook them in a broth or soup, your dish will only heighten the flavors of the grain. You can start with small changes such as, switching from white bread to whole grain bread. Changing your cereal to something with more whole grain. Add a little bit of whole grain to your diet and feel the difference it makes to your body.