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Healthy Grains to Eat Right Now
The Whole Truth
If you've been shunning carbs, you may want to reconsider: Whole grains are carbohydrates that can benefit your health. They contain all three parts of the grain kernel, offering loads of fiber per bite. This helps keep you fuller for longer—plus fiber is great for tackling bad cholesterol. Refined grains, on the other hand, typically have the germ and bran removed, leaving only the endosperm intact. I asked my dietitian colleagues for their favorite grain recipes. May their meal ideas (and mine) inspire a grain streak this week.
Amy Gorin, M.S., R.D.N., is a registered dietitian nutritionist and owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in Jersey City, NJ. She is a nutrition consultant, motivational speaker, and journalist.
Switching out white rice for brown rice may significantly lower risk of type 2 diabetes, shows a Harvard study. Subjects who typically ate 4 ounces of white rice at least five times weekly noticed a 16 percent decrease in risk of type 2 diabetes when they replaced a third of that intake with brown rice.
Emily Kyle Nutrition
With a chewy texture, this ancient grain contributes up to 13 percent of your daily fiber needs per 1/3 cup cooked. Freekeh contains many minerals, including immunity-helping zinc and blood-sugar-controlling manganese.
Try it: Freekeh Chicken & Cabbage Soup from Emily Cope-Kyle, M.S., R.D.N., owner of Emily Kyle Nutrition
Offering up about 6 percent of an adult's daily need for bone-building calcium per 1/2 cup cooked, this ancient grain is often used in soups and porridges—but is great in granola mixes, too. It's rich in the essential amino acid lysine, lending its use in building and repairing tissues in the body.
Try it: Coconut Amaranth Granola with Dried Cherries from Abby Langer, R.D., blogger at AbbyLangerNutrition.com
Traditionally featured in breakfast bowls, oatmeal is also great as an ingredient in casseroles, muffins, and pancakes. Regular oatmeal intake can help people with diabetes control their blood sugar levels, per research in British Journal of Nutrition.
Millet is an ancient grain that comes in white, yellow, red, and gray varieties. It's packed with 3 grams of protein per 1/2 cup cooked and can be popped into "popcorn" or mixed into cereal bars. It contains magnesium, important for building bones, as well as manganese.
Jessica Fishman Levinson
A good source of disease-fighting phytochemicals, sorghum may help cardiovascular health and lower risk of certain cancers, per research out of Texas A&M University. It also provides a good dose of fiber and iron. The grain can be used in place of rice in a risotto and also has a great texture for grain-based salads and sides.
Try it: Cranberry Ginger Sorghum from Jessica Fishman Levinson, M.S., R.D.N., founder of Nutritioulicious
Janice Newell Bissex
This grain has a chewy bite and works well in salads. In addition to 6 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber per 1/2 cup cooked, wheat berries contain iron, important for transporting oxygen throughout the body.
Try it: Wheat Berries with Zucchini and Peas from Janice Newell Bissex, M.S., R.D.N., co-owner of Meal Makeover Moms' Kitchen and coauthor of The Smoothie Bowl Coloring Cookbook