Read full article By Heather McClees @ One Green Planet Photo Credit: marekuliasz/Shutterstock
Whole grains are one of the most important food groups that everyone can consume, and no matter what you may have heard about grains being bad for you, the truth is that whole grains provide valuable sources of nutrients that our bodies need and depend on for optimal health.
Why Whole Grains Are Important for Health: Research Doesn’t Lie
Besides fruits and vegetables, no other food group has been shown to prevent and reverse disease through research like whole grains have. They contribute to a healthy heart, satiety at meals through real, whole food fiber, and they’re packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and yes, even protein! Even just one to two servings a day of whole grains can provide exceptional health benefits making them well worth a place in our diets.
The Best Kinds of Whole Grains to Eat
Whole grains come in many forms, though. It’s always best to consume whole grains in their whole form versus processed forms like bread and flour. Our bodies digest whole forms of grains much slower than processed forms of flours (such as wheat flour), refined grains such as white rice, and products made from flour such as cereals, crackers, cookies, and similar products. Slower digestion renders whole grains better for blood sugar levels, our weight, digestion, and especially for our satiety levels.
Gluten-Free Grain Goodness: 8 Tasty Options to Try!
Some of the best whole grains you can eat are those rich in amino acids which are the building blocks of protein. While wheat, barley, and rye are also full of protein, there are also many gluten-free grains that are as well — and they’re safe for anyone and everyone!
Check out these incredible gluten-free grains that are packed with protein, fiber, B vitamins, antioxidants, and important minerals. Keep in mind that most of these grains below are “pseudo-grains”, which means that they are technically seeds, but they cook up just like grains and provide a similar nutrition profile. We’ve also included some true whole grains in this list too. All of these whole grain options are delicious, healthy, and perfect to enjoy at any meal of the day!
Millet is said to be one of the best grains for those with digestive sensitivities since it’s gluten-free and less inflammatory to the body than common grains such as wheat. Millet is also wonderful when cooked as a porridge or used in baked goods since it has a naturally sweet flavor. Millet contains an array of minerals, specifically manganese, magnesium, B vitamins, and iron.
It’s also a high source of protein per serving with 5 grams per 1/4 cup. As another bonus, millet is also one of the most affordable whole grains you can buy. It goes great in veggie dishes like soup, stews, and can be cooked into a pilaf just like rice as well.
Try these Caribbean Jerk Millet Burgers or this Seasonal Fruit and Millet Bake for two delicious options!
Sorghum is one of the lesser-known grains, but it’s also one of the most unique and nutrient-dense grains. Sorghum is loaded with fiber and protein, containing 8 grams of serving each per 1/4 cup. That’s more fiber than two servings of oatmeal and more protein than an egg!
Sorghum has a naturally sweet flavor and cooks up into a tasty, puffy grain. It can also be popped just like corn and is easy to digest. You can also grind sorghum into flour to use in baked goods since it has a naturally sweet flavor, or serve it just like you would rice or oatmeal. If you’re feeling creative, try making your own desserts with homemade sorghum flour for naturally sweet treats. Just grind some whole grain sorghum into flour with a small coffee grinder, blender, or food processor for a healthier flour in seconds!
Try this Taco-Spiced Veggie Meat-Stuffed Avocado, or use sorghum flour in these Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes.