Are Whole Grains Really To Blame?
There is a debate going on at the moment among the health food community as to whether the humble wholegrain should have a place in your diet.
There are countless testimonials of people claiming to have regained their health through restricting their grain intake. So often, the grain wears the blame - but is it by removing grains you have also removed processed packaged products and replaced them with whole foods that have brought about the proclaimed health benefits?
In order to challenge conventional paleo thinking, let’s consider the grains which aren’t grains - millet, buckwheat, quinoa and amaranth are actually ‘grain-like seeds’, which aren’t highly processed like the nutrient-poor grains found in breads, pasta, rice, couscous and the gluten-free alternatives. The grain-like seeds pack a powerful nutrient punch, are naturally gluten free and can assist in blood sugar control which helps you feel fuller.
Is popular throughout Africa, China, Russia and India, it is high in fibre, iron, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium. It also contains silica which helps keep bones flexible during ageing, improves breath, and is anti-fungal and beneficial to heart health. Millet also serves as a good substitute for couscous.
Robust earthy flavour which of all the grain-like seeds has the longest transit time through the digestive system and is therefore most filling. Helps regulate blood sugar, benefits circulation, has a high proportion of the amino acids, especially lysine and is also rich in B vitamins and vitamin E.
Originates from South America, is the fastest cooking and most nutrient dense of the grain-like seeds. It is energy dense and a valuable source of protein. It helps strengthen the kidneys, heart and lungs. High in B vitamins, iron, zinc, potassium, calcium and vitamin E. It is important to rinse seed to remove the toxic (but naturally occurring) bitter coating, saponin.
Is the lowest carbohydrate option of all of the grain-like seeds and has the highest iron content. It is high in B vitamins, magnesium and vitamin C. It has the highest calcium content (Second only to teff, a species of Ethiopian love grass). It also assists in balancing blood cholesterol.
Grains has become a dirty word in the low-carb craze, however let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water when it comes to removing grains from your diet. Like protein and fat, carbohydrates are an important and valuable element of your diet. Do you feel that grain-like seeds are beneficial to your health and if so how do you incorporate them into your diet?