Don’t Miss Out On The Health Benefits of Whole Grains Even If You Eat Gluten Free
Whole grains are an important and delicious part of a healthy diet. If you have read my blog you know that I am an advocate os switching from refined, processed grains to whole grains. I have switched from wheat bread to whole grain breads, white rice to brown rice, and regular pasta to whole grain pasta. I love whole grains for both their flavor and their health benefits.
Why Switch To Whole Grains
First of all, when you process a grain into it’s “white” form (i.e. white bread, white rice, etc) the grain loses its nutritional value. When you remove the germ and the bran from the grain to make white rice or white flour cup to 90% of specific nutrients are lost.
Because of the slow digestion factor and the high fiber content, whole grains also give you a sensation of fullness. Because you are feeling full you eat less.
Because blood sugars are more stable and because you tend to eat less when eating whole grains, they are a great choice to help to maintain a healthy weight. Whole grains are something to get excited about.
The Problem with Whole Grains
The problem with whole grains is that many of them contain gluten or wheat. There is a growing number of people with wheat and gluten allergies and sensitivities and those people can not benefit from these incredible nutritional resources. That is why I am particularly excited about 7 special whole grains that are also gluten free!
7 Gluten Free Whole Grains To Get Excited About
Brown Rice: Ohh, I love brown rice! Rich in fiber and B vitamins, brown is a healthy alternative to white. Brown rice has a chewier texture and a richer flavor than white and is fantastic in fried rice, soups, or cold salads.
Buckwheat: Buckwheat is not actually not related to wheat at all. It is indeed gluten-free. Buckwheat is a flowering plant that is nutritionally similar to grains. It is a good source of minerals, fiber and protein.
Cornmeal: Cornmeal is made from coarsely ground corn where the nutrient packed germ remains. Look for white, yellow and blue varieties. Cornmeal, of course, makes lovely polenta, beautiful cornbread, and makes an awesome thickener for soups (like tortilla soup) or sauces.
Oats, steel-cut: Steel cut oats are exactly wheat the name implies. The whole groats are cut into bits using steel blades. When buys steel-cut oats make sure that you are buying certified gluten-free oats that have not been contaminated with gluten during the manufacturing process.
Popcorn: Yes! Popcorn is a whole grain! Popcorn is not only fun to eat but in its raw form has only 31 calories per cup and is packed with fiber. Try it with buttery tasting brewers / nutritional yeast sprinkled on top for a healthy alternative to butter. Check labels because not all brewers yeast is gluten free due to manufacturing contamination with wheat products.
Quinoa: Quinoa is another of my favorite whole grains, even though it is really a seed and not a grain at all. Quinoa is super easy and fast to make and is a perfect protein with all eight essential amino acids. Compare labels carefully when buying quinoa. Make sure that the brand you are buying has a high fiber content. The high fiber products have the healthy bran still intact. Some products have lower fiber because the bran has been rubbed off during the manufacturing process.
Wild Rice: While rice is not actually a true grain either. Nor is it a rice, for that matter. Wild rice is actually an aquatic grass. However, it is a power food when it comes to nutrients and those nutrients resemble those of grains. So, it is considered a whole grain for that reason. Wild rice contains more protein than my beloved brown rice and has a huge fiber content. It is also a great source of the amino acid lysine. I can’t think of any other type of rice that is better in soups than wild rice. It is fantastic to stuff a chicken with or as a side to a festive meal. However you choose to eat wild, you are getting a powerful nutritional boost.
The 7 whole grains I mentioned above are exceptional because they are gluten free and can be enjoyed by everyone despite gluten or wheat allergies or sensitivities. So what do you say? Are you in? Try switching from refined grains to whole grains. Their nutrition benefits really are something to get excited about!