Nowadays, people are crazy over whole grains. Back before the heyday of the seemingly global fascination with whole foods and everything organic, whole grains were relegated to livestock feed while the masses gorged themselves on refined and enriched grain-based products. We now know the error of our ways. But even though we’ve come to the realisation that whole grains (and whole foods for that matter!) are good for us, we’re still nowhere near knowing how to pick the right grains for optimal health.
The Whole Grain Debate – Which Ones to Pick, and Why to Pick Them
When whole grains became the talk of all health journals and nutritional experts, everybody was keen to get on to the ‘whole grain craze’, and whole wheat bread, mixed-grain breads and whole grain cereals soon lined the shelves of every supermarket. One of the most popular whole grain products of recent years is whole wheat bread (and, subsequently, all products with the ‘whole wheat’ label). While whole wheat is, like all whole grains, an excellent source of dietary fibre and various key micro and macro-nutrients, it unfortunately isn’t the most ideal choice since the protein component of wheat can cause gut irritation in a large proportion of the population.
Some people tolerate wheat very well, but many people, even those not suffering with Coeliac disease experience varying amounts of irritation through consumption of wheat. Because some people suffer from coeliac disease, whole wheat may prove more ruinous than beneficial to one’s diet. Forgoing whole wheat-based products need not mean forgoing all whole grains however, since an equal number of far more healthful, tasty, and nutritionally dense whole grains abound like rice, corn, oats, spelt, quinoa, millet, and sorghum! On the plus side, these whole grains are excellent for people who have gluten sensitivity! Some of the easiest and most ideal whole grains to pick if you’re after convenience and ease of preparation are whole grain rice, which comes in two distinct varieties – brown rice and black or ‘purple’ (aka ‘forbidden’) rice; whole grain oats, and cracked corn, the latter which comes in a surprisingly dizzying array of different varieties and colours, especially the ‘heirloom’ varieties.
These three are easy to prepare, and cook quite quickly – perfect for people who are always on the go! For more nutritionally dense options however, millet, quinoa, and sorghum are your definite winners. All of these whole grain powerhouses can be made into an assortment of foodstuffs, ranging from a broad variety of breads down to tasteful dessert treats, and numerous cookbooks online and in stores abound which can help you master each
More Grain, More Gain – Should You Opt for Multigrain Mixes?
It may be tempting to focus on just one ‘staple’ whole grain (like sticking to just brown rice or millet, for example), but a number of experts and nutritionists suggest that mixing whole grains in the same light as trail mixes or ‘multigrain’ cereals provides far a more nutritional punch without having to spend extra for pre-made ‘multigrain’ mixes sold in stores. Unlike staple grains which may be deficient in some trace nutrients or minerals, mixing grains together balances out whatever deficiencies there may be in a staple diet, while subsequently forgoing the need for extra ‘supplementation’ with food supplements which may contain substances that are not readily bioavailable, and sometimes even in excess of what the body needs. If cooking whole grains and multigrain mixes seems too much of a hassle, breads and other ready-to-eat or easy-cook products are available at your local supermarket – just be sure to read the label and opt for certified organic, gluten-free products.
Experts also suggest that the choice for ‘whole’ go beyond merely whole grains and encompass the entirety of whole foods. It is always best to choose organic, although well within the capacity of your budget – opting for freshly grown fruits and vegetables, and farm-raised or free-range meat products as well as fresh seafood. Variety is the key to optimum nutrition, and whole foods are by and large, definitely far more superior than processed or canned products.
For more great tips and suggestions on how to improve your dietary habits and eating choices, please consult your trusted Canberra Spine Centre chiropractor. If you’re in Canberra and are looking for the means to improve your overall health and wellness in a holistic, non-invasive, and efficient manner, drop us a line on (02) 6257 9400 and book an appointment today!