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Most Nutritious Grains

By: Ron Lagerquist

Grains

Protein

Buckwheat

 13%

Wheat

 15%

Oats

 15%

Quinoa

 12%

Wild rice

 14%

Barley

 13%

Rye

 13%

Grain is jam-packed with nutrition and for many countries that do not have a continuous source of fresh fruits and vegetables, grain has become their main staple. Grain is sustaining and perfect in supplying the calories needed for hard physical work. Grain is also a solid source of protein. Remember, always eat stone-ground whole grain and if you can afford organic, that’s even better.

Amaranth

is a tiny yellow seed packed with lysine, the amino acid that controls protein absorption in the body. Similar to quinoa, the protein’s biological value is almost perfect. It is extremely high in vitamins and minerals. Three and a half ounces of amaranth contains more calcium than a glass of milk, and a half-cup contains less than 16 calories. This makes amaranth a rare grain that can be enjoyed by those who are determined to lose weight. It is sold exclusively in health food stores and is relatively inexpensive. Amaranth has a toasted sesame seed flavor and is delicious as a creamy breakfast cereal.

Buckwheat

Buckwheat is also in the fruit family. The seeds are harvested from buckwheat flowers. Buckwheat is a rich source of protein (11%), containing all eight amino acids. Its protein is considered to be of a higher biological value than soybeans. Buckwheat is low in fat (2%), with only half the calories of barley. It is high in iron and a good source of B vitamins. Buckwheat cannot be used successfully in producing bread or other baked goods but is excellent in making pancakes. A traditional meal of buckwheat is called groats, which is cooked like rice in water until soft and fluffy, and can be eaten as a breakfast cereal.

Oats

Whole grain oats are filled with seven B vitamins, vitamin E, and nine minerals, including a generous amount of calcium and iron. It is easy to digest and is a better source of protein than wheat. Because of their soluble fiber, oats help lower cholesterol levels in the blood. Oat bran makes an excellent breakfast cereal, cooking in two minutes. Oats powdered in a coffee grinder make an excellent natural thickener. Always buy unrefined whole oats. Organic oats can be found in health food stores and are quite cheap. Natural rolled oats will take longer to cook but can be soaked overnight to dramatically decrease cooking time, making oats a convenient, healthy breakfast. Oats contain an antioxidant that allows them to be stored for extended periods of time. If oat flour is added to bread, the antioxidant in oat flour will help preserve the bread’s freshness.

Millet

Millet is high in the following vitamins and minerals: phosphorus, calcium, iron, niacin and riboflavin. A cup of cooked millet contains only 90 calories. It can be found in health food stores and some grocery stores, and can be stored for one year on the shelf. When purchased in bulk, it is extremely cheap. Look for a bright, golden color with no aroma. When cooking millet, it is best to presoak it, then cook it like rice for 20 minutes.

Triticale

According to the University of Manitoba, triticale has a greater health effect than combining soybeans and yogurt together. Triticale is higher in protein than wheat and rye, and is twice as high in lysine as wheat. It can be purchased in health food stores and has a similar appearance to wheat. Because it is a non-oily grain, it may be stored in the cupboard. It is a hard grain, so it takes 40 to 50 minutes of cooking time.

Barley

Pot barley, which is also called whole barley, is the grain without its outer shell. It is brown in color, having a sweet, nutty taste and chewy texture. Pot barley should always be soaked before cooking. Avoid pearl barley, equivalent to white flour, because the aleurone and embryo are washed away, leaving only the endosperm, the least nutritious part of the grain. For this reason, I recommend you use whole, hulled barley. It is easy to distinguish from common pearl barley because of its brownish-gray color. Its high fiber content requires that it be soaked overnight. Whole, hulled barley is a good source of protein, fiber and niacin, and also contains calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. It is chewier and a little more expensive, but it will be well worth the switch. You will quickly adapt to its wholesome natural texture.

Corn

It is predicted that, during the 21st century, two-thirds of the entire earth’s population will live on a diet derived from corn. The versatile cornmeal is milled from the dried corn kernel. It is made up of the rough hull covering two layers of hard and soft starch deposits. In the center of this package is the germ, a rich treasure of nutritional oil and high-quality protein. Our modern cornmeal destroys nutrients by removing the germ entirely and breaking down the fibrous hull. Stone ground cornmeal is the natural alternative. Corn is packed with potassium, magnesium, thiamin, riboflavin and niacin. The health value we give to corn is dependent on how it is eaten. The best value for health is to simply husk it and eat it raw. Raw corn is at the top of the grain list. Raw corn is filled with essential fatty acids, enzymes and insoluble fiber for colon care. It is creamy and sweet. When purchasing grits (dried corn), always buy the stone-ground variety, insuring the inclusion of fiber and germ. Store the grits in the refrigerator or freezer. It can be cooked in the oven for 10 to 20 minutes, and then boiled in water.

For most North Americans, walking to the car is the most exercise they will get in a day. If you do not exercise and eat large portions of highly-concentrated food you will gain weight. As you probably realized by now, we are not a big fan of highly-concentrated foods, unless you are active.  Low concentrated foods like fresh fruit and vegetables are better suited for an inactive lifestyle. But you are active then injoy the following top pick grain foods.

Related Article: Grain Recipes

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I found this article to be very informative. I was looking for a list of the most nutritious grains and found this - THANKS!
vivian
preety cool web but could use some more detail
mewa
Corn? Really? That is really depressing... GMO Corn I guess to :( Nothing nutritious at all about that!
Jayme
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