The Dietary Guidelines for Americans emphasizes whole grains as a key component of a healthy diet, and over the past few years, ancient grains have become a culinary trend that keeps on growing. Most whole grains are a good source of fiber.[i][ii]
To reap the whole grain health benefits, open yourself up to a world of flavor and options with different whole grains and a variety of ways to enjoy them. Whole grains can be simply cooked as a side dish, added to dishes like meatloaf, soups, and stews, serve as the base of salads, or used in place of some or all of the refined grains in baked goods. Give these three whole grains a try in your next salad!
Barley: Barley is one of the oldest grains and its fiber content is one of the highest of all whole grains[iii], with the fiber available throughout the whole grain, not just in the outer layer like other grains. When shopping for barley, look for hulled or hull-less varieties, which don’t have the inedible hull, but retain most of the fiber of the grain.
Corn: Corn may get a bad rap, but recent research shows certain varieties of corn have the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which are associated with eye health. [iv] Plus corn is a gluten-free food, which means corn and foods made with corn products are good choices for those suffering from celiac disease and other gluten intolerances.
Quinoa: Related to beets and Swiss chard and technically not a grain, quinoa is cooked and eaten like grains and has a similar nutritional profile. In addition to being a good source of fiber[v], quinoa is the only plant food that is a complete protein, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids your body needs. And it’s a gluten free food!
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By Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN for Fresh Express