Humans have been eating whole grains for thousands of years. Lately it has become trendy to avoid carbs with marketed promises of weight loss. However eliminating all grains from your diet isn't necessarily the healthiest choice.
1. Your Brain
Your brain uses carbs to function and as a source of energy. If you don't give your brain enough carbs it goes into a bit of a panic creating a hormone imbalance. Carbs are also a source of energy for the body - completely eliminating grains can lead to feeling tired and hungry.
So now you are torn...you want to maintain a healthy weight but you also want energy and a healthy brain. What should you eat?
There are two kinds of grains...
AKA - white/refined/processed...The Bad & The Ugly
High and fast grains are 'white' carbs - those that have been processed and are far from the original whole grain they once were. These include white pasta, bread, bagels, pastries, cereal, white flour, many crackers - you get the idea.
I call them 'High & Fast' because they cause a spike in your blood sugar levels and are digested quickly without much fibre to slow them down therefore leaving you hungry, lethargic and insulin spiked!
These are the carbs that are associated with weight gain - they quickly turn to sugar in your body causing excesses insulin production and an inflammatory response. Avoiding or greatly reducing these carbs and crowding them out with 'low and slow' whole grains (see below) is a healthy choice.
AKA - whole, unprocessed, fibre rich...The Good
Low and slow grains are whole grains - those that are as close to their natural state as possible. They include quinoa, steel cut or rolled oats, brown rice, millet and buckwheat.
These carbs are labelled 'Low & Slow' because they are high in fibre and are digested slowly - keeping your blood sugar levels even and giving you sustainable and high quality energy. They are an excellent source of nutrition, as they contain essential enzymes, iron, dietary fibre, vitamin E, and B-complex vitamins.
These carbs are associated with less hunger, more energy, balanced hormones and a healthy digestive system (fibre is essential in detoxing waste from your body) - you want to include them in your diet.
Along wth vegetables and fruits, protein and healthy fats - whole grains are part of a healthy diet. Choose the ones that are closest to their natural state - for example make a bowl of steel cut oats instead of processed instant oatmeal.
As for pasta (which I certainly love) there are many new options on the market that taste great and are made with beans, lentils and peas - giving you clean, heathy protein and fibre - a way better choice than white pasta. Learn more about them here: New Healthy Pasta Alternatives
I would love to hear from you! How do you incorporate healthy whole grains into your day? Let me know in the comments below...