Wheat, especially in its refined form, is by far one of the most predominant ingredients of our diet. It is used to make bread, pasta, cakes, cookies, cereals, pies, and many other treats. And if you were to give up refined grains, you wouldn’t know what else to eat as almost all grain products have been refined in some way or the other. But steering clear of refined grain products can benefit your health to a great extent as refined grains have almost no nutritional value whatsoever.1
Why Refined Grains Are Harmful
There are numerous reasons why you should avoid refined grains products. They contain excessive starch and gluten and are devoid of any natural fiber. Plus when grains are processed, about 25 different chemicals are added to them, including bleaching chemicals, preservatives, and artificial coloring and flavorings.
In order to keep white bread soft
Since these products are also nutritionally imbalanced, they can also contribute to a number of degenerative diseases. For example, the phosphorus-calcium imbalance in refined grain products can result in the leaching of calcium from the bones, which result in tooth decay and brittle bones especially in the elderly.3
Besides flour, refined grain products also contain other ingredients like salt, sugar, skim milk, yeast, sulfate, chloride, bromate chemicals, enzyme activators, and many other food additives. When all of these ingredients are eaten together, it can cause a cascade of toxic reactions in your body. And scientists are yet to conduct a thorough research on such effects.
Gluten-Free, Whole-Grain Alternatives You Can Consume
Instead of having refined grains, you should try getting your daily carbohydrate intake from other natural, non-refined sources. Some gluten-free whole grains you can try are the following.
Oats: Oats is a type of cereal grain that is inherently gluten-free, but it may get contaminated with wheat during growing and processing. For this reason, you should ask your doctor to recommend a good brand of oats that is good for your health. Since oats are rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber and protein and are low in unsaturated fat and cholesterol, it makes a very good breakfast option.4
Buckwheat: Despite the name, buckwheat is not related to wheat and is completely gluten-free. It is a plant which has grain-like seeds that are rich in complex carbohydrates. It has a high concentration of all the essential amino acids and other minerals like iron and zinc.5
Corn: Corn is a cereal grain that is a staple food of many cultures throughout the world. It is low in calories and sugar and high in protein and fiber. Most of the time you tend to have corn in its cereal form or as popcorn. A syrup made from corn, known as high-fructose corn syrup, is also added to many soft drinks. If you want to derive the health benefits of corn, you should try to have it in
Millet: Millet is a whole grain that is a primary ingredient of birdseed, but it can be eaten by humans on a regular basis too. It is high in fiber and completely gluten-free, and it makes a great breakfast porridge dish.7
Rice: Everyone is familiar with rice as it is a staple food in many cultures throughout the world. Since it is gluten-free, it is a great option for those who are gluten sensitive or intolerant. You can try having brown rice instead of the polished white ones as it is much healthier because of its complex carbohydrate and fiber content.8
Quinoa: Quinoa is a grain crop that is harvested mainly for its
|↑1||Slavin, Joanne L., David Jacobs, and Len Marquart. “Grain processing and nutrition.” Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. 40, no. 4. 2000.|
|↑2||Porta, G. Delia, P. Shubik, K. Dammert, and B. Terracini. “Role of Polyoxyethylene Sorbitan Monostearate in Skin Carcinogenesis in Mice.” Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 3, no. 3. 1961.|
|↑5||Christa, Karolina, and Maria Soral-Śmietana. “Buckwheat grains and buckwheat products–nutritional and prophylactic value of their components–a review.” Czech J Food Sci 26, no. 3. 2008.|
|↑6||Ai, Yongfeng, and Jay‐lin Jane. “Macronutrients in corn and human nutrition.” Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety 15, no. 3. 2016.|
|↑7||Dayakar Rao, B., K. Bhaskarachary, G. D. Arlene Christina, G. Sudha Devi, and A. Tonapi Vilas. “Nutritional and Health benefits of Millets.” ICAR_Indian Institute of Millets Research (IIMR) Rajendranagar, Hyderabad. 2017.|
|↑8||Juliano, Bienvenido O. Rice in human nutrition. No. 26. Int. Rice Res. Inst., 1993.|
|↑9||Vega‐Gálvez, Antonio, Margarita Miranda, Judith Vergara, Elsa Uribe, Luis Puente, and Enrique A. Martínez. “Nutrition facts and functional potential of quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa willd.), an ancient Andean grain: a review.” Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 90, no. 15. 2010.|