A Question About Whole Grains

I'm working to add more whole grains to my diet. I eat a bowl of steel-cut oatmeal every day, but want to add some more grains. Any suggestions for some powerhouse whole grains?


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    edited September 2021

    OK, I'll bite. Why?

    Whole grains are better than refined grains, but almost any grain is not as nutritious as the vegetable, fruit or meat (especially organ meat) that you might eat instead.

    More: replace any refined grains with whole grains, that's smart. But anything else in you diet? If you are eating whole foods, don't replace it with grains, and if you are eating processed food, replace it with veggies, fruit or animal protein.

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    I'm aiming for a well-rounded balance of foods, including vegetables, fruit, some meat....and whole grains. No to processed foods. You seem opposed to grains. Why?

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    I just don't think they are necessary, and they contain a lot of carbs. Google said oatmeal is the most nutritious grain, but it really doesn't have many micronutrients compared genuinely nutritious foods.

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    I think it depends on your definition of 'powerhouse'. A "whole" grain is ... what? A grain that has the bran (the outer layer), the germ (the seed's embryo), and the endosperm (a bunch of starch/carbs)? There are many to choose from ... https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/whole-grain-foods is an article by an RD with 14.

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    Awesome! Adding whole grains to your diet can definitely have a favorable impact on your health and longevity (not to mention your microbiome).

    When it comes to whole-grains, consider the degree of processing the food went through. The less processed, the more water will be required for cooking (better satiety) and the greater the nutrient content. My favourites are:

    • wheat berries (these are awesome as a grain based salad or as breakfast)
    • bulgur
    • amaranth
    • millet
    • freekeh
    • sweet potato
    • flax, chia, hemp (technically a seed but they have grain properties too)

    Each of the above has just one ingredient added so are a great choice. If you want to include slightly more processed but other healthy options, I'm a fan of:

    • Shredded Wheat and Bran (literally, the only ingredients)
    • Ezekiel bread

    I also think it's fun to play around with making your own bread. Just choose a flour with minimal processing (and ensure it's whole grain).

    Also, be sure to increase your fluid since your fibre is going to increase as well!

    Kind regards,

    Susan Macfarlane, MScA, RD
    Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:

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    Thanks for your helpful information and new ideas, Susan.

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    I grew up with grits as a fairly common breakfast food. Most stone ground whole corn grits, also known as polenta are whole grain corn. Some products also called grits are ground from dried hominy which is corn with the outer hull removed by a 3,500-year-old process called nixtamalization. It may not be technically "whole grain" but nixtamalization leaves the germ and improves nutrient availability. In my experience, many northerners turn up their nose at grits but will pay big money in a fancy Italian restaurant for polenta.

    Hulled barley is another pert-near whole grain that suits me. I'm not sure if barley is hulled with the same process that improves the bioavailability of corn though.

    Another grain-like seed is buckwheat. I like to add toasted buckwheat (kasha) to steel-cut oats, usually 3 parts oat to 1 part buckwheat.

    I'm no expert, just felt like throwin' in my two cents.

    "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants." Michael Pollan

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    edited October 2021

    Nemo, I've always liked Alpen unsweetened muesli in the morning. I also eat a lot of breads mostly sprouted grains. A cup of Alpen is 12g protein.

    I also add a spoon of chopped walnuts, cashew, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, ground flax and chia seeds, 4 dates and 2 prunes, a cup of hot milk and soak for 1/2 an hour while I do some morning exercise.

    We favour basmati rice and German noodle variety.

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