Grains have been a staple in our diets for thousands of years, providing sustenance and energy to people all over the world. They come in many varieties, each with its unique flavor and nutritional value. But with so many options available, it can be overwhelming to know which grains to choose and how to prepare them properly.
In this guide, we’ll explore the world of grains, from the different types available to the benefits of choosing whole grains over refined ones. We’ll also give you tips on how to incorporate more whole grain products into your diet, as well as a list of grains to avoid.
What are Grains?
To begin, let’s define what grains are. In botanical terms, grains are the edible seeds of plants that belong to the Poaceae family. These plants are also called cereals, which is how we commonly refer to the grains themselves.
Grains are used in a variety of ways, from being milled into flour for bread and pasta to being cooked as a side dish or used in salads. They’re also a common ingredient in many processed foods, such as cereal and snack bars.
What are the 21 Types of Grains?
There are many types of grains available. Here are 21 examples:
- Wild Rice
What are the 7 Main Grains?
While there are many types of grains, there are seven that are considered the main grains in the world. These are:
These grains are the most widely cultivated and consumed in the world, and they provide the majority of the world’s caloric intake.
What are the 5 Healthiest Grains?
While all grains provide some nutritional benefits, some are considered healthier than others. Here are five of the healthiest grains:
- Quinoa: high in protein and fiber, and a good source of iron, magnesium, and manganese
- Barley: high in fiber and antioxidants, and may help lower cholesterol levels
- Oats: high in fiber and protein, and may help lower cholesterol levels
- Brown Rice: rich in antioxidants and fiber, and may help reduce the risk of heart disease
- Buckwheat: gluten-free and a good source of protein and fiber, and may help improve blood sugar control
About How Much of the Grains You Eat Should Be Whole Grains?
While all grains provide some nutritional value, choosing whole grain products over refined ones is important for overall health. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, at least 50% of the grains you eat should be whole grains.
Whole grain products contain the entire grain, including the bran, germ, and endosperm. This means they’re higher in fiber, vitamins, and minerals than refined grains, which have been stripped of these nutrients during processing.
To ensure you’re getting enough whole grains in your diet, look for products that list whole grains as the first ingredient, such as whole wheat bread, brown rice, and quinoa.
Best Whole Grains for Weight Loss
If you’re trying to lose weight, incorporating more whole grains into your diet can help. Whole grains are rich in fiber, which helps you feel full and satisfied, and they also provide important nutrients that support weight loss.
Here are some of the best whole grain foods for weight loss:
- Brown rice
- Whole wheat pasta
Whole Grain Products for Breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and choosing whole grain products can help you start your day off right. Here are some of the best whole grain foods for breakfast:
- Whole grain cereal
- Whole wheat toast
- Quinoa breakfast bowl
- Whole grain muffins
- Whole grain pancakes or waffles
- Brown rice breakfast bowl
List of Grains to Avoid
While all grains provide some nutritional benefits, some are less healthy than others and may be best to avoid or limit. Here are some of the grains to avoid:
- White rice
- White bread
- Refined pasta
- Sugary cereals
- Processed snack foods made with refined grains
What Whole Grain Products, If Any, Do You Already Include in Your Diet?
Now that you know more about the variety of grains available and their nutritional benefits, take a moment to assess your current diet. What whole grain products, if any, do you already include in your diet?
If you’re not sure, start by reading food labels and looking for products that list whole grains as the first ingredient. Also, consider incorporating more whole grains into your meals by trying new grains, such as quinoa or farro, or using whole grain flours in baking.
What are the 12 Grains?
To wrap up our guide to grains, here are 12 common grains that you may come across:
Grains are an important part of a healthy and balanced diet, providing valuable nutrients and energy. By choosing whole grain products over refined ones and incorporating a variety of grains into your meals, you can reap the benefits of this versatile and nutritious food group. So next time you’re at the grocery store, consider adding some new grains to your cart and exploring the world of grains.