There has been a lot of interest around grains the past few years particularly by certain individuals or diets that preach that grains shouldn’t be included in our diet. Often those who exclude grains from their diet say they have had a huge improvement in their digestive system and their bloating has disappeared – I often ask clients though was it the grains or was it their portion size or servings of grains that may have been excessive and caused them to feel very full and bloated – just something to think about!
But I’m here to explain why are grains so important to include in our diet. To begin with grains are high in carbohydrates, low in fat, provide protein and varying amounts of vitamins and minerals. They provide a quality source of iron, iodine, magnesium, zinc, folate, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and Vitamin E. Last weeks blog focussed on fibre which links in well with this blog as grains are also a fantastic source of fibre! So basically they provide us with a huge variety of nutrients, vitamins and minerals – this gets them a big thumbs up.
And before those people with coeliac disease who can’t eat gluten say they can’t have grains in their diet, let me stop you. Grains such as quinoa, rice, wild rice, buckwheat, amaranth, millet and corn are easy to include in your diet and are gluten free. Nuts, seeds and legumes are also great substitutes for grains for those who need to follow a gluten free diet. For those who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, quinoa is a fantastic grain as it’s a complete protein – meaning it provides you with all the essential amino acids you must consume through your diet.
At Tree of Life Nutrition we recommend when choosing grains that they are ideally whole grains, are low GI and are high in fibre. Try to keep refined grains to a minimum in your diet as they don’t provide anywhere near the benefits whole grains provide!