Many people think about grains as carbs and carbs as a way to gain weight. Well, it’s not that simple, and it’s not that complicated either. Some grains will actually help you to lose or maintain the perfect weight, while some will do the exact opposite. The trick is to choose the right type of grain. Carbs and fiber are essential for our body to function well and grains provide both. Carbs give us energy while fiber is definitely helpful for weight loss.
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1. Whole Oats
Oats are very high in avenanthramide, an antioxidant that protects the heart. The fiber in oats is the beta-glucan fiber. It is known for its ability to absorb a lot of water, which means that it swells in your stomach, increasing the feeling of fullness. Generally speaking, oats are a great food for losing weight and keeping it off, as long as you keep an eye on the add-ons.
2. Brown rice
Brown rice is rich in so many vitamins that it almost becomes a superfood. It has antioxidants, magnesium, phosphorus, B-group vitamins and is one of the very few products that is high in selenium. It also very high in fiber, low in fat, and has low-density, meaning you feel full after eating a relatively small amount.
If you want to try something very different, red and black rice might be a good choice, both are considered whole grains and are high in antioxidants.
3. Whole rye
Researchers believe that rye has more nutrients per serving than any other whole grain. It has 4 times more fiber than standard whole wheat, 100-calories per serving, and it has nearly 50% of your daily recommended amount of iron.
4. Whole-grain barley
Barley is excellent not only for losing weight but also for lowering the cholesterol level. When grocery shopping, make sure you get the whole-grain barley, not “pearled” which practically means refined.
Buckwheat has more protein than the other grains which makes it an exceptionally good source of protein for vegetarians. It’s very high in magnesium, which is important for regulating blood pressure. And like all whole grains, it’s also a good source of fiber.
Quinoa and buckwheat are great for people with celiac disease and gluten intolerance. Quinoa is also high in protein and very high in B-group vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids. Although quinoa is not low in calories, it has a low Glycemic Index, meaning it won’t cause a big spike in blood sugar.
Corn can be extremely healthy for you when it’s whole. It’s a good source of B-group vitamins, magnesium, and phosphorus, and also high in antioxidants. Corn is also relatively low in calories, at least until you add butter to it.
Lentils are a unique grain because they’re really rich in protein and fiber, low in fat, and high in slow-digesting carbohydrates. A half-cup serving of lentils contains 20 grams of carbohydrates and 8 grams of fiber, meaning that 8 of the 20 grams of carbohydrates won’t get digested. On top of that, they’re loaded with B vitamins, zinc, iron, potassium, and calcium.
As you can see, you can easily find a yummy, healthy replacement for the grains that are listed below.
Grains to avoid when losing weight
Refined grains are the ones you’ll want to stay away from. They only contain calories and don’t deliver any nutrition. Some whole grains with a high GI are also not a good choice if you’re keeping an eye on your waistline.
1. White rice
White rice is a refined carbohydrate, high in calories, low in fiber, and hardly has any nutrition. It has a very high GI, so it turns into sugar very soon after you eat it and only fills you up for a short period of time.
Wheat can also be called a superfood. A superfood for gaining weight. It contains amylopectin A, a super starch which is extremely fattening. Wheat products are very high in calories, have a very high GI, and are very addictive, including the whole wheat products. According to researchers, just 2 slices of whole wheat bread can raise your blood sugar more than 2 tablespoons of table sugar.
Couscous may look like a whole grain, but the reality is it’s not much different than refined wheat. No nutrition, just calories.