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Are grains bad for you? Is it a myth and why?

Lisa Cutforth - Friday, April 23, 2010
Your question answered:

Are grains bad for you?  Is it a myth and why? 


Grains are full of B vitamins, amino acids, fibre and carbohydrates.  Are they healthy?  Yes, absolutely, there are many nutritional benefits to consuming grains, except that not everyone has the same experience with grains.  Some grains are harder to digest than others, some grains are notorious for causing digestive upsets, like wheat.  And some grains contain gluten (for example oats, wheat, rye), which an increasing number of people are being found to be intolerant to. 

There is evidence to suggest the best way to eat grains is by soaking them, and certainly some grains have been found to be superior to others, either because it is more easily digested, more nutrient dense or simply low allergy risk.  Rice for example is very low allergen, usually if people are sensitive to rice it is because their system has become severely compromised and they have a host of existing sensitivities to food and their immune system is over reacting.

Oats have fantastic properties, they are medium to low glycaemic load so they help to maintain a steady stream of energy (glucose into the blood) and they keep you satisfied for a good few hours- keeping hunger at bay.  They contain soluble fibre so help to lower blood cholesterol (they do this by binding to bile in the gut and forcing the body to take cholesterol from the blood to make more bile which is used for digestion.)  They contain beta glucans which are fantastic for your nervous system and have actually been found to help with depression.

Quinoa is a less well known grain, which could be called the king of grains alongside the likes of millet.  Quinoa is full of essential amino acids, whole grain, low GI, tasty and versatile.

Absolutely, enjoy your grains, but choose good quality whole grains as often as you can.

If you are going to eat bread, get in the habit of reading the ingredients list.  Try to avoid numbers or ingredients you don't recognise as food.  Choose heavy breads and breads that you can see grains, seeds and roughage in.  I enjoy ancient grain breads or pumperknickle or home baked breads best and find they tend to agree with me and my family more!

Please contact Lisa if you have any other questions you would like answered.

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