The world of grains is vast and offers many benefits—learn what they bring to your table!
The makeup of a balanced diet can change based on biology and age, but there are some tried and true foods that are always a good match. Grains are an essential food category that can offer us everything from energy to protection against certain diseases. In this article, we will discuss what grains bring to your diet and how you can add more!
It is common to hear people mention grains in their diet, but most people do not actually realize what grains are. Grains come from common grass plants and are actually the seeds of these crops. Perfect for eating and offering plenty of health benefits, grains are eaten regularly all around the world.
Throughout the years, there has been some debate over whether or not grains are healthy. While whole grains are frequently pointed to as a healthy part of a good diet, some believe that refined grains may not offer the same benefits.
Whole grains are grains that are eaten whole and remain intact until we eat them. These grains offer plenty of good fiber and health benefits. For this reason, many health recommendations suggest eating more whole grains.
Refined grains, on the other hand, are broken down to only offer a specific part of the grain. Although some nutrition can be lost, many nutrients are returned to refined grains if the grains are enriched, with the exception of fiber, which is not restored during the process.
The benefits of grains primarily come from whole grains, but they can also be achieved with enriched grains in many cases.
Grains are a wonderful source of vitamins and minerals as long as you eat the correct kind. They can include important vitamins and minerals that influence how you feel and how your body functions on a daily basis.
Common Vitamins and Minerals Include:
- B Vitamins (particularly with enriched grains)
- Vitamin E
When considering protein for a diet, many people look to meat sources. However, all of the protein that we eat ultimately comes from plants—even when we get it from an animal source ourselves. Grains can be a wonderful protein source and play an essential role in daily values.
Antioxidants play a crucial part in keeping us healthy and protecting our bodies from our environment and diet. Many grains offer a high volume of antioxidants that can support your body one meal or snack at a time. Grains can help to increase overall health and prevent chronic disease because of the antioxidants they possess.
In addition to offering plenty of good nutrients, grains are also known for their high volume of carbohydrates. The carbohydrates in grains offer the ideal energy source for your body, allowing you to feel energized and ready to tackle your day.
While “grains” is a term that is used to represent many seeds, there are actually several different types of grains available for everyone to enjoy. The average person can add grains to their diet in a variety of ways, which makes it very easy for everyone to find an option that they like eating. Each grain type can also provide various benefits when you eat them!
In today’s world, plenty of grains are in the spotlight—but wheat is still one of the most common grains that we eat. This grain is an excellent source of carbs, fiber, and protein. Most people eat wheat in the form of some kind of baked good or a more complex food type. The average person eats wheat every week in the form of pasta, bread, or baked treats.
Quinoa has grown in popularity in many places around the world, particularly among those with gluten allergies. Offering plenty of vitamins and nutrients, this particular grain is a great healthy option. It is commonly served cooked alone, with vegetables, seasoning, and as a side dish.
Barley is a satisfying grain that includes plenty of key nutrients too. Ideal for enhancing digestion and offering plenty of fiber, barley is a beneficial addition to the diet. People commonly enjoy barley cooked alone, in soup, and even in certain kinds of beer.
Groats are one of the lesser-known grain options in the modern world—at least by name. In fact, you have probably tried them at some point in your life. Also referred to as “oat groats” in many circles, groats are intact oat grains. Packed with protein and perfect for supporting energy for active living, this is one more wonderful grain type.
Your typical oats can be found in cereal, oatmeal, and the increasingly popular overnight oats too. These gluten-free grains offer essential vitamins and minerals, as well as plenty of fiber. Perfect for keeping you energized, and available in everything from cookies to dinner entrees, oats provide a great opportunity for anyone looking to eat healthy, satisfying meals.
Creating a nutrient-dense diet that leaves you full and energized is easy when you prioritize the right ingredients. To give your diet a healthy boost, it helps if you choose to incorporate more whole and enriched grains. As you try new options, consider how these different grains impact your body, and choose meals that help you to get the benefits you need!
This is not professional medical advice.