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7 Steps Away From Refined Grains

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7 Steps Away From Refined Grains

By Catherine Guthrie, Experience Life

Whole grains deliver fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, plant enzymes and hundreds of phytochemicals. For those seeking a dense source of carbohydrate energy, they can be a healthy choice — but only if they are unrefined and minimally processed. Here are a few steps toward upgrading your own grain options.

1. Choose whole-kernel grains when possible. Whole-kernel grains, such as wild rice, quinoa, millet, buckwheat groats, hulled barley and whole-wheat berries, are what David Ludwig (director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Children’s Hospital Boston) refers to as “unbroken grains.” Unbroken grains have heartier, more complex structures than pulverized and processed ones, making them slower to digest, less disruptive of blood sugar and better at satisfying hunger for an extended period of time. Minimally processed grains, such as steel-cut oats, are another good option.

2. Try sprouted grains. Sprouting activates beneficial enzymes, which transform grains from static seeds to living foods. Sprouting changes the seed’s starch, converting it into maltose. Ordinarily, this conversion happens during the first stage of digestion. So, sprouting is a form of predigestion. For that reason, foods made with sprouted grains are thought to be easier to digest and, therefore, their nutrients more easily absorbed than foods made with conventional grains. Sprouted grains also tend to be higher in protein, which can help regulate the rate at which the grains’ sugars are metabolized.

3. When you bake, replace part of the flour with nut or seed meals. Meals made from ground nuts and seeds, such as almonds, cashews, coconut and flax, can often stand in for flour in baking recipes as well as breadings on meats or seafood. Compared with many flours, nut and seed meals are higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates. “Nut and seed meals are an easy way to upgrade the nutritional profile of your favorite flour-based foods,” says nutritionist Kathie Swift, MS, RD.

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Experience Life magazine is an award-winning health and fitness publication that aims to empower people to live their best, most authentic lives, and challenges the conventions of hype, gimmicks and superficiality in favor of a discerning, whole-person perspective. Visit experiencelife.com to learn more and to sign up for the Experience Life newsletter, or to subscribe to the print or digital version.

38 comments

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8:24AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

I love whole grains but like the idea of nut meal as well, these are very tasty!

6:51AM PDT on Jul 8, 2012

I MIGHT eat white rice once a month. I have used it for a dish for an event. I add onion, olive oil and some veggies.
Brown rice takes longer to cook. You can find brown rice in a variety of colors and flavors. I saw Jasmine rice in the brown variety yeaterday.

I eat white potatoes because they have potatsium. If you cook your potatoes, put in fridge over night and then use them, their glycemic index falls. The cooking and cooling changes the starch and it takes longer for the body to break it down and use the calories. Add some olive oil, onions, etc and make a nice potato salad.

6:25AM PDT on Jul 8, 2012

Thank you
The information was interesting.

10:12PM PDT on Jul 5, 2012

interesting, thanks!

7:53PM PDT on Jul 5, 2012

thanks

4:27PM PDT on Jul 5, 2012

Great information. Thank you for sharing.

9:12AM PDT on Jul 4, 2012

thanks

7:51AM PDT on Jul 4, 2012

No, thanks. I'm allergic to nuts.

6:16AM PDT on Jul 4, 2012

great info about gluten-free products

2:58AM PDT on Jul 4, 2012

very true about gluten free flours

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