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Nutrition - Understanding our Grains

Who doesn't love a good white bread, bun, baguette or focaccia? But these, though they taste great, are not as good for us because they have had the nutrient-rich germ and fiber-dense bran processed out. This process means they are refined which leaves only the starchy tissue inside the seed called endosperm. Other examples of refined grains are white rice, white flour and corn grits. Here are the layers of a whole grain.

When we think about grains we think corn, rice, oats, wheat and barley. But there are 21 different types. Here is a list of some that we can try to add, unrefined to our meals.

There are many benefits of changing our diet to incorporate more grains. We can easily to this by opting out of white bread and substituting a whole wheat or multi-grain version. We can even go further and use whole wheat or corn pasta or brown rice over white. The benefits of doing this are:

  • High in fiber, vitamins, minerals, protein, and antioxidants

  • Lower risk of heart disease especially when you replace refined grains

  • Lower risk of stroke – fiber, vitamin K and antioxidants can reduce the risk

  • Reduced risk of obesity as eating fiber-rich foods can help fill you up and prevent overeating

  • Lower risk of type 2 diabetes – fiber and magnesium found in whole grain helps lower the risk

  • Supports healthy digestion because fiber adds bulk to stools and feed beneficial gut bacteria

  • Recent studies shows whole grains can help reduce inflammation

  • Current research shows strongest anti-cancer benefits of eating whole grains help lower risk of colorectal cancer

I've tried to incorporate more whole grain options and here are a couple of recipes that are great alternatives with lots of flavour:

  1. Cream Pepper Zucchini Pasta - uses whole wheat pasta

  2. Peas and Ham Couscous - light couscous grains

  3. Chunky Corn Soup - grain that is sweet and delicious

  4. Pasta 5 Formaggi - using corn rice pasta makes this meal gluten-free

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