What is the secret to a healthy life?
Well, there isn’t. A life of good health and well-being doesn’t require drinking a magical nectar of perpetual youth. Nor does it thrive upon some ancient secret principles that are now lost.
The actual process of being healthy is no secret and has always been plain and simple. Eating healthy food, indulging in physical activities, meditating, and getting a good night’s sleep are keys to promoting overall health. However, when it comes to applying these principles, most of us fail at the very first step: the ideal breakfast.
A nutritious and wholesome breakfast is essential to energize you for the day. However, not many of us know what to include and exclude in our breakfast.
But this confusion ends now, as we have just the right food recommendation for your breakfast: whole grains.
Whole grains are among the most nutritious foods you can consume. They are rich in essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, and a host of other things. All these vital nutrients make whole grains a wonder food. Today, we talk about eight super-healthy whole grains that make for an ideal breakfast.
Nevertheless, let’s first talk about why you should opt for a whole – grain – some diet!
Why choose Whole Grains over Refined Grains?
Whole grains are true to their name– they are the whole of the grain. Now, what does that mean?
Every grain has three parts: the germ, the bran, and the endosperm.
The germ is the innermost part (the core), rich in healthy fats, protein, and several vitamins and minerals. The germ is inside the endosperm, which is the soft inner part of the grain and mainly contains carbs. The endosperm is wrapped inside a fibrous coat called the bran. This coat is basically dietary fiber with more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
You see, whole grain is like a small capsule power-packed with all kinds of nutrients. It’s no wonder that consuming them will drastically enrich your quality of life.
Now imagine this capsule is looted of most of its powers. Imagine the grain without the bran and germ so that just the carb-rich endosperm remains. As it turns out, this modified grain is the refined grain– a whole grain looted of its wholesomeness.
Which grain would you choose – whole or refined?
We got your answer. So let’s tell you about eight nutritious whole grains that can make for a hearty breakfast.
Whole Grains for Breakfast – 8 Best Choices
Okay, this one’s definitely a no-brainer. Yet you can’t prepare a list of whole grains without including wheat! This Asian staple cereal has too many benefits to ignore.
Whole wheat is intact with its fibrous bran and nutrient-rich germ. As a result, it is rich in carbohydrates, vitamin B6, fiber, and minerals such as sodium, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and iron.
However, wheat is also highly rich in a type of protein called gluten. Though gluten can cause serious problems for people allergic to it, it is also beneficial in many ways. So, if gluten doesn’t bother you, you should definitely include wheat in your breakfast!
If you want to avoid wheat due to its gluten content, here is a gluten-free alternative.
Millet has been a staple in several Asian and African countries for centuries. This grain is enriched with a wide range of minerals such as zinc, potassium, and calcium and is also high in protein, vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants.
All these nutrients make millet a superfood that keeps your heart healthy and lowers blood sugar, bad cholesterol, and triglyceride level. Is that a great food to add to your breakfast menu? You bet.
No matter whether or not you know about other grains on this list, you must be aware of oatmeal.
Besides being jam-packed with a plethora of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, oats are high in beneficial antioxidants. For example, a study found that avenanthramide – an antioxidant in oats – can prevent the build-up of fat in the arteries.
Additionally, oatmeal can lower cholesterol and blood sugar and help you lose weight. So, if you want a satiating meal that also caters to your overall health, oats are arguably the best option.
Rice is another common staple prevalent in Asian countries, such as India and China. However, a lot of people eat refined white rice. If you are one of them, it’s high time you switched to its brown alternative!
That’s not all. Brown rice is also capable of reducing LDL (bad cholesterol) and increasing HDL (good cholesterol). All in all, brown rice is a perfect staple for a healthy diet.
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is a pseudocereal. This is because Quinoa grains are not grasses but seeds. Nevertheless, they are among the most nutritious whole grains.
The Incas consumed Quinoa as a staple food, though these whole grains gained global recognition only recently. Besides being densely packed with various nutrients, quinoa seeds contain more protein and fiber than many other whole grains. Moreover, the fact that they are gluten-free is a bonus.
You can follow the wisdom of the Incan people and add Quinoa to your breakfast menu!
Barley is a common staple in American households. The wide range of nutrients makes barley one of the most nutrient-dense and fulfilling whole grains.
Besides various nutrients like vitamins B1 and B3, copper, magnesium, and phosphorus, barley also contains antioxidants like lignans. Lignans can potentially help prevent cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
Furthermore, the beta-glucans present in barley can bring down LDL levels and increase HDL levels. Thanks to a special type of insoluble fiber present in it, barley can also lower the risk of developing gallstones.
Another pseudocereal on this list, buckwheat, is not actually wheat in any way. Buckwheat grains are, in fact, fruits of the buckwheat plant.
Buckwheat grains are highly rich in vitamins and minerals and essential nutrients like carbs, protein, and fiber. They are high in manganese, iron, copper, and magnesium. These substances help improve heart health.
Plus, buckwheat can also improve glucose levels. In fact, a 2003 study on diabetic rats found that buckwheat reduced glucose concentrations by up to 19%. Clearly, if the rats can benefit from buckwheat, we, too, can!
As a popular staple cereal in Scandinavian countries, rye is an important whole grain loaded with several unique benefits.
Rye grains are no different from other whole grains regarding their nutrient content. However, they are more beneficial than other whole grains in many ways. Rye can promote weight loss by giving you a feeling of fullness. Like barley, rye also prevents gallstones and can also reduce blood glucose levels.
Rye also has a special ability to down-generate some harmful genes that can otherwise put you at a greater risk of chronic diseases. Moreover, it may also prevent cancer and asthma.
Whole grains are among the most fulfilling and nutrient-rich foods we can ever consume. These superfoods have been providing us with loads of health benefits for ages.
However, we have lately become increasingly oblivious to the power of these ancient staples. Therefore, it’s high time we turn our attention to these wonderful foods once more and include them in our diet. That’s exactly why we came up with this blog to tell you about some of the best whole-grain options you must include in your breakfast.
Choose your favorite grains from the above eight options and start having them in breakfast to healthify your breakfast! So, which ones are you picking up first? Tell us in the comments below!