THE WHOLE GRAIN PIC­TURE

CAR­BO­HY­DRATES DON’T HAVE TO BE THE EN­EMY IF YOU MAKE HEALTH­IER CHOICES. SKIP THE CARB COMA WITH THESE SEVEN NU­TRI­ENT-RICH GRAIN AL­TER­NA­TIVES

Life & Style Weekend - - YOU/WELLBEING - EYE WELL­NESS

When look­ing at over­all con­sump­tion of grains in your daily diet, how does it stack up in terms of va­ri­ety and nu­tri­tion? Let’s tally it up. Break­fast: toast? ce­real? Lunch: a white sand­wich or wrap per­haps? And din­ner, did it in­clude pasta, noo­dles or more bread?

The com­mon theme is re­fined wheat prod­ucts or pro­cessed car­bo­hy­drates with a lack of nu­tri­en­trich grains. Whole­grains are com­monly over­looked in our di­ets, but with so many great grain al­ter­na­tives read­ily avail­able, it is hard to work out why. Each op­por­tu­nity to eat, should fo­cus on the most nu­tri­tion­ally dense foods pos­si­ble. Car­bo­hy­drates are re­spon­si­ble for car­ry­ing a large chunk of our nu­tri­ents and phy­to­chem­i­cals, so choose wisely.

Fruits, veg­eta­bles, whole­grains, legumes and nuts pack a far more pow­er­ful nu­tri­tional punch than re­fined grains, starches and sug­ars.

The bonus of wa­ter and fi­bre in com­plex car­bo­hy­drates helps slow down the ab­sorp­tion of glu­cose, which low­ers an in­sulin re­sponse.

It makes sense to eat whole, un­re­fined foods which as­sist with sati­ety and hold­ing the munchies at bay.

Apart from the usual cul­prits of oats, rice and corn, here are some other grains to con­sider:

1. BAR­LEY

The high­est in fi­bre of all the whole grains. Bar­ley has an ined­i­ble outer hull, so the most pop­u­lar way to buy it is pearled. This does lower the bran con­tent, so eat­ing hulled bar­ley (the outer husk is care­fully re­moved) is a bet­ter op­tion. Try adding it to sal­ads, stews and soups.

2. QUINOA

Not tech­ni­cally a grain, quinoa is a rel­a­tive to beet­root and spinach. Quinoa flakes, flour and puffs are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly avail­able at health-food stores. It’s one of the only plant foods to boast be­ing a com­plete pro­tein.

3. SPELT

Spelt is a dis­tant rel­a­tive to wheat and, al­though it does still con­tain gluten, it doesn’t seem to cause sen­si­tiv­i­ties in many peo­ple who are in­tol­er­ant of wheat. Due to spelt’s high wa­ter sol­u­bil­ity, the grain can be ab­sorbed quickly into the body and eas­ily di­gested. Use it in breads, por­ridge and baked goods.

4. BUCK­WHEAT

Buck­wheat has no gluten so can be eaten by peo­ple with coeliac disease or gluten al­ler­gies. It’s a cousin of rhubarb and not tech­ni­cally a grain at all. Found most com­monly in Ja­panese soba noo­dles, buck­wheat is the only grain known to have high lev­els of an an­tiox­i­dant called rutin.

5. AMARANTH

This is ac­tu­ally a highly nu­tri­tious seed, but it’s called a grain. A gluten-free food, amaranth is also eas­ily di­gested, and has around eight times more iron than wheat. A lively, pep­pery taste, the pro­tein (a whop­ping 14 per cent) in amaranth is re­ferred to as com­plete be­cause it has ly­sine, an amino acid miss­ing or neg­li­gi­ble in many grains.

6. TEFF

Teff is the small­est known grain in the world, tinier even than a poppy seed. Teff is high in iron and cal­cium and packed full of B vi­ta­mins, which makes it great for en­ergy.

7. FREEKEH

Freekeh is a hard wheat (of­ten du­rum wheat) that is har­vested when the plant is still young and green, then roasted and rubbed. This gives it its sig­na­ture smoky flavour. Freekeh is of­ten sold cracked into smaller, faster-cook­ing pieces. Use it in tabouli sal­ads or cook it into a de­li­cious por­ridge.

KARLA GIL­BERT Cham­pion iron­woman and ocean ath­lete Karla Gil­bert is an ac­cred­ited Nu­tri­tion and Health Coach and certified Level III and IV Fit­ness Trainer, with cer­tifi­cates in Child Nu­tri­tion and Nu­tri­tion. She is the au­thor of ebook Naked Habits. READ MORE AT kar­lag­ilbert.com.au

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