8 whole grains you should eat more of this year

8 whole grains you should eat more of this year

Pantry basics

Text: Doreen Irinco

Image: Getty Images

Incorporating whole grains into your diet is one of the best decisions you can make for your overall health. But which are the healthiest of the lot and what benefits do they possess? Below, we map out eight of the best

1. Oats


Why do scientists so passionately vouch for oats? It's because they are packed with fibre, minerals and vitamins that play an essential role in keeping your body in tip-top shape. They can be easily integrated in your meals, and have numerous health benefits. And you can add pretty much anything to them from dried fruits, raisins to affordable edible flowers, as shown below. Since they are packed with fibre, they make you feel full for a longer period of time, thus preventing you from overeating. They also regulate your bowel movement, blood pressure, and prevent your blood sugar level from spiking. 

2. Quinoa


Pinterest is packed with quinoa recipes and we understand the craze completely. It's not a seed and it's not a grain, but this power food is a protein goldmine. Even an uncooked cup of quinoa is rich with protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which is a great alternative for all those who aren't avid fans of fish. As it's easy to prepare, it'll make a great addition to your pantry for those times you need to whip up a quick weekday meal. 

Brown Rice

brown rice

Why choose brown over white? The answer is simple — brown rice contains 75 per cent more nutrients than white rice. Switching out white rice for brown rice will enable you to feed your body with a daily dose of B vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus and antioxidants. It's great for your bowel movement, blood pressure, certain heart conditions, and makes your skin glow. Apart from physical benefits, it also provides relief from stress, depression, and hypertension.

4. Bulgur


It's an iron and magnesium capital and it is typically easy to prepare as it cooks completely in only five minute and can be used in soups as well as salads. Why do we recommend adding bulgur to your diet? First of all, it's packed with fibres. Secondly, it's going to help you with your blood pressure. If you're working out constantly, bulgur is a great substitute for protein shakes as only one cup of it contains 25 per cent of the daily recommended dose of protein.


5. Buckwheat


Being a natural source of protein, it's easy to mix buckwheat into your pancake batter and reap all the healthy benefits of this humble grain through a delightful recipe. Buckwheat is packed with more than just protein. It includes fibres, vitamins, and minerals that help to regulate your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels, and even your weight. 


6. Corn


There's a common myth that corn isn't really healthy for you. However, if you consume them whole and not as a processed by-product, it's a great source of vitamin B and magnesium. It's also known for reinforcing your gut flora to help with digestion and prevention of bowel infections. What's the quickest way to enjoy corn? Make it pop. That's right, consume it in the form of popcorn. Movie nights just became a whole lot healthier. 

7. Millet


Although it's not a commonly known plant, it's essentially the most powerful immune booster of the entire whole grains family. Apart from boosting your immune system, it'll detox your body, regulate your bowel movement, lower the risk of cancer, and increase your energy levels. You can enjoy it baked into breads, as a breakfast cereal, or comforting bowl of porridge. 

8. Barley


This whole grain powerhouse will give you a mega boost of energy to get you through the day while helping to decrease your cholesterol levels in just a month. It's quick to cook and especially tasty if you toss in some dried fruit such as apricots and raisins.


About Doreen Irinco
An unabashed foodie, Doreen has a certification in Sports and Exercise Science, a discipline that puts her in good stead to question the whys and hows of food nutrition, body conditioning, and sports wellness. When she's not writing, she enjoys snapping photos of symmetries or rainbows.