There’s a lot of discussion about grains in your diet and whether they’re actually healthy to include or bad for you. There’s good reason. Not all grains are alike. If you’re talking about refined grains, there is no doubt that they aren’t healthy. Many grains have three parts, the bran, endosperm and germ. When the grain is processed, the starchy endosperm is what is left, milling away the bran, which provides fiber and germ, which provides the protein, vitamin, fat and minerals. That means processed grains have little nutritional value compared to whole grains. Focus on using whole grains, rather than processed ones that are bad for you.
Grains may be harder to digest, especially whole grains.
Even though whole grains contain more nutrients, that doesn’t mean they’re easy to digest. Some contain gluten, which can cause digestive problems. They may have enzyme inhibitors. The grain is a seed and seeds need the right conditions to grow, so the enzyme inhibitor, prevents enzymes that start the process until that happens. Unfortunately, you also need enzymes for digestion and it stops that process, too. Grains also contain phytic acid that can prevent the absorption of certain minerals.
Some ancient grains don’t create the same problems.
Gluten content may be one of the problems caused by grains. In which case, those with lower gluten content are better for those with sensitivities. Spelt, Kamut, Einkorn are earlier forms of wheat that are naturally low in gluten content. As noted previously, processing makes a difference. All the good things about the grain, the majority of the thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin, pyridoxine (B6), pantothenic acid, vitamin E, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, sodium, chromium, manganese, iron, cobalt, zinc, copper and molybdenum are stripped from the grain.
It isn’t all about gluten.
While some people with gluten intolerance and celiac disease should never eat wheat or grains that contain gluten, not all grains contain gluten. Oats don’t contain gluten, while also providing many benefits. Oats can help lower your cholesterol. They fill you up, aiding you in weight loss. Oats contain avenanthramide, which protects the heart. Brown rice is a grain and it’s loaded with antioxidants and nutrients.
- Whole grain barley can help lower cholesterol levels. In fact, one study showed that after five weeks of eating a half-cup per day, cholesterol levels dropped by almost 10%.
- You can improve the digestibility of grain by processing the grain right. If it’s soaked, fermented or sprouted, it helps prevent digestive problems from the enzyme inhibitors and phytic acids.
- If you choose to sprout grains, to make them easier to digest and reduce the potential for sensitivities, it improves the vitamin B and C content, as well as the fiber, folate and amino acids.
- For anyone that’s sensitive to grain, flour alternate options are almond and coconut flour. Almond flour and coconut flour are both extremely nutritious and has a low glycemic index.
For more information, contact us today at Sci-Fit Nutrition