Because of the raging popularity of diets such as the Atkins and the South Beach diet, grains are being touted as carbohydrate bags that lead to weight gain. Not all grains, however, are bad for you. If you want to enjoy grains in your bread, pasta, or other dishes, here are steps to pick healthy grains.
Know the parts of the grain. Start by doing some research yourself. The reason why some grains are not healthy is because not all of the parts of the grain are retained during food processing. Usually, the parts of the grain that are removed are those that are very high in vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Know the parts of the grain so that you will know which parts are helpful and healthy for your body. Generally, the bran and the germ are the most important parts of the grain. The fiber content is mostly in the bran, and fiber is good for cleansing the body. The germ is rich in various vitamins. The endosperm is in between the bran and the germ, and has a few vitamins of its own.
Reading the labels. Now that you know the parts of the grains, the next most important thing is for you to find it in the supermarket. The grains that you are looking for are those that come with the label of ‘whole grain’. Only whole grain products contain the bran, the endosperm and the germ which will give you the maximum amount of fiber and nutrients per serving. Be wary of food products that are labeled with tags such as nutria-grain, since nutria grains are not actually whole grain food products and are only marketing gimmicks that are made to mimic whole grains.
Complex carbohydrates. Look for grains that have complex carbohydrates that are some of the best fuels that you can give to your body and which you can use to feel energized all day long, as opposed to refined and processed carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are usually made from whole grains, such as oats and barleys, bran and wild or brown rice. These have plenty of nutrients, as opposed to refined grains that have been cleaned to the point where most of the nutrients have already been removed.
Checking for freshness and cleanliness. Check for freshness by ensuring that you purchase your grains from suppliers that have large stocks of the produce. The large stock will be your guarantee that you are purchasing something fresh. If the grains being sold are at the bottom of the pile, you can bet that those grains are old and are just awaiting the new batch of grains. Make sure that you also purchase your grains from dealers that keep the grain containers tightly covered, preferably with airtight seals. The airtight seals do not only keep the insects out but also keeps the grains fresh.
Just because it has carbohydrates does not mean that it is bad, as long as you get your carbs from healthy whole grains. Through these steps, finding these nutritious grains should be easy.