Originally published October 8 2009
Swap Wheat and Processed Carbs for Whole Grains
by Sheryl Walters
(NaturalNews) With 78% of Americans saying they are trying to eat more whole grains, wheat might be the typical go-to for breads and other baked products. Wheat is commonly overused which can lead to food sensitivities and intolerances, with wheat allergies on the rise. Some even suffer from a condition known as Celiac disease, a gluten intolerance that requires wheat and other glutinous grains to be eliminated from their diets. Health advocates are advising people to switch to whole grains, which are grains that have not been processed or stripped away of their nutrients because they contain all the parts of the grain. Examples are quinoa, buckwheat and brown rice. With all of the nutrients in place, our bodies can benefit from them and digest them more effortlessly than processed grains like wheat or white rice. While wheat, even wheat that is unprocessed and a "whole grain" causes blood sugar levels to rise, other less popular whole grains keep levels balanced, so our mood and health is more harmonious.
The amount of wheat consumed in the average western diet is putting our health at risk. It offers absolutely no nutrients whatsoever, and is contributing to a wide range of illnesses including fatigue, digestive problems and skin disorders, just to name a few. Wheat is no more than a highly processed filler food that overworks our bodies. By replacing wheat completely, or at least partially with other, healthier whole grains, we can improve our health tremendously.
According to the Whole Grains Council, those who included whole grains in their daily meal plans had lower rates of obesity, lower cholesterol levels, and reduced risks of stroke, cancers, heart disease and diabetes than those people who regularly consumed bread and other processed grains. Research also shows the connection between carbohydrates and serotonin, which supports positive moods.
A whole grain is one that still has all three parts of the grain intact: the germ, the bran and the endosperm. The bran is the outer layer that contains B vitamins and fiber and protects the rest of the grain. Next is the germ, which is the endosperm which could sprout and produce more grains if fertilized. Last but not least is the endosperm, which is the acting food supplier for the grain working with photosynthesis to fuel the little grains. Refined grains remove the bran and germ, which also removes about 25% of the grain`s protein and at least seventeen key nutrients! For health`s sake, just remembering that there are a variety of healthy whole grains other than wheat can make the journey from refined to whole foods that much easier.
Items such as brown rice, wild rice (actually a grass, not a grain) and barley are now being seen and used on menus nationwide. Quinoa is making a name for itself in restaurant and home kitchens, being a complete protein with all the amino acids and being gluten free. Lesser known grains such amaranth, farro, kamut, rye, spelt and oat groats, millet and teff can be experimented with for more wheat free ways to incorporate whole grains. Next time you make a pilaf or risotto, try millet with a nutty taste and filling bite along with more fiber than brown rice. If you choose, wheat can be eaten as a cooked whole grain by buying bugler (cracked wheat) or wheat berries. Hearty little grains, wheat berries make great cold salads, help thicken soups and are not processed like in breads and flour products. Try quick cooking amaranth as a morning porridge with fresh fruit and nuts.
Some whole grains can even be sprouted, since they contain all of the parts necessary to grow. Buckwheat, for example can easily be sprouted, making it far more nutritious. All you have to do is soak the buckwheat grouts for half an hour, drain and rinse every few hours. The next day you will find small shoots popping out. You can now use them in salads and other raw dishes.
Quinoa can also be sprouted, although it is slightly more difficult than buckwheat. Follow the directions above and see what happens. Even if there is not a sprout the next day, you will find them soft enough to be enjoyed in salads without destroying any of the nutrients contained in the grain.
So get off the wheat. Enjoy some of the less known whole grains to improve your health and enjoy a more varied diet.
About the authorSheryl is a kinesiologist, nutritionist and holistic practitioner.
Her website www.younglivingguide.com provides the latest research on preventing disease, looking naturally gorgeous, and feeling emotionally and physically fabulous. You can also find some of the most powerful super foods on the planet including raw chocolate, purple corn, and many others.
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