13 Healthy Whole Grains You Should Eat

Posted by Luisa de Luca on

Whole grains are an important part of a healthy diet. They are nutritionally dense, full of fiber and are an excellent source of healthy carbohydrates. Whole wheat, oats and quinoa are probably the first whole grains that come to mind. However, there are many more options you can choose from that have amazing health benefits.

A young woman is standing with a handful of oats

 In addition to the “standbys,” here are some unique whole grains to add to your diet:

1. Amaranth: Along with quinoa, Amaranth has all nine essential amino acids, which makes it a rare plant-based complete protein. It’s also high in vitamin C, another unique nutrient other grains typically lack1. Bonus, it’s gluten-free! It’s shaped like a tiny seed and makes a delicious breakfast porridge or is great sprinkled raw in salads or in bread recipes.

2. Barley: This grain is very high in fiber and other minerals like manganese, selenium and thiamine2. And if you’re tired of treating high cholesterol with oatmeal, try barley instead. One study showed eating barley dropped cholesterol levels by 10%3. Note, though, that “pearled” barley doesn’t count as a whole grain!

3. Brown Rice: Also a grain, brown rice (and its colorful cousins, red and black rice) are packed with antioxidants and B vitamins4. Word of warning, rice has been found to have high levels of arsenic. So be sure to rinse off your rice before cooking them.

4. Buckwheat: Despite the name, buckwheat is actually completely gluten free. It’s high in minerals zinc, copper, magnesium and manganese5. Try it as pancakes, in a stir-fry or bake in a delicious muffin recipe.

5. Farro: A type of wheat, farro is known for being high in fiber and magnesium6. Farro is also known as spelt. Even though it’s a type of wheat, some people with gluten sensitivities find they can eat farro without any problems7.

healthy grains

6. Kamut: Another wheat variety, kamut has 40% more protein than regular wheat. It has vitamin E, B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids8. You can buy it whole or look for pastas, breads and flours made from whole grain kamut.

7. Millet: Another tiny grain, millet has a nutty flavor and can have a texture similar to rice. It’s another high-protein grain9 also containing good levels of manganese, phosphorus and magnesium10. It goes great in a salad or try as a porridge!

8. Oats: They have a reputation of being good for the heart, and it’s true. Oats have an antioxidant that specifically protects your ticker11.

9. Quinoa: It’s taken health food by storm and has become a popular addition on tables in place of rice. Quinoa has more protein than any of the other whole grains, including omega-3 fatty acids12. It even has vitamin E and calcium13!

10. Rye: This amazing grain is the most nutritionally dense option among whole grains. It boasts four times more fiber than wheat and just one serving gives you almost half your daily iron needs14! Just be sure to always buy “whole rye” to make sure you’re not getting refined versions with less ideal nutrition.

11. Sorghum: This grain can be popped (similar to popcorn) or ground into flour and used in place of wheat flour. It can be used to bake breads, sprinkled on salads or used instead of rice in a healthy vegetable bowl. abstract of healthy, gluten free grains (quinoa, sorghum, brown rice, teff, buckwheat, amaranth, millet) - top view of paper price tags against a slate stone. 

abstract of healthy, gluten free grains (quinoa, sorghum, brown rice, teff, buckwheat, amaranth, millet) - top view of paper price tags against a slate stone

12. Teff: It looks like poppy seeds and has an incredible amount of calcium15. Teff is also one of the most starch resistant whole grains, meaning it “resists” digestion16. It tastes great as a breakfast cereal or as a tortilla.

Sources:
1. 6 Grains You Need To Be Eating and Why (n.d.) https://leaf.nutrisystem.com
2. 6 Grains You Need To Be Eating and Why (n.d.) https://leaf.nutrisystem.com
3. Leah Zerba. (April 1, 2015). 11 Healthiest Whole Grains http://www.rodalesorganiclife.com
4. Leah Zerba. (April 1, 2015). 11 Healthiest Whole Grains  http://www.rodalesorganiclife.com
5. Marisa Moore. (October 12, 2015). 8 Whole Grains You Should Be Eating This Fall http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
6. 6 Grains You Need To Be Eating and Why https://leaf.nutrisystem.com
7. Lindsey Oberst. (August 12, 2013). The Healthiest Grains To Include In Your Diet http://www.onegreenplanet.org
8. Heidi Skolnik. (March 5, 2013). Super Grains You Should Be Eating http://www.doctoroz.com
9. Kathleen M. Zelman. (March 1, 2011). Great Grains and Seeds You're Not Eating http://www.webmd.com
10. The Healthiest Grains To Include In Your Diet (August 12, 2013).  http://www.onegreenplanet.org
11. The Healthiest Grains To Include In Your Diet (August 12, 2013).  http://www.onegreenplanet.org
12.The Healthiest Grains To Include In Your Diet (August 12, 2013).  http://www.onegreenplanet.org
13. The Healthiest Grains To Include In Your Diet (August 12, 2013).  http://www.onegreenplanet.org
14. The Healthiest Grains To Include In Your Diet (August 12, 2013). http://www.onegreenplanet.org
15. 6 Grains You Need To Be Eating and Why https://leaf.nutrisystem.com
16. Heidi Skolnik. (March 5, 2013). Super Grains You Should Be Eating http://www.doctoroz.com


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