Over the past few decades, grains have somehow gotten a bad rap. Carbohydrates have become the dieter’s enemy, with many people fearing that grains will make them fat, sick and sluggish. However, whole grains can provide an important source of protein, fiber and various vitamins and minerals, making them a vegan’s best friend.
Choose Whole Grains
Processed and refined grains, such as white rice and flour, are nutritionally devoid. The hull found on whole grains, which is removed during processing for white rice or flour, contains important trace nutrients as well protein and fiber. Using different types of whole grain breads can compliment your meals.
Quinoa, a small grain that originated in Peru, is actually one of the most protein rich foods that a person can eat. Easy to cook with a satisfyingly nutty flavor, this grain also offers a complete amino acid profile with high amounts of fiber and iron. Quinoa is versatile and should be a pantry staple for any vegan concerned with healthful eating.
Barley is regarded as one of the earliest cultivated grains in human history, and it’s a classic for good reason. Although barley is now most commonly grown for animal feed or beer production, vegans in the know realize the nutritional potential of this often overlooked grain. Barley is an excellent source of fiber and selenium, and recent studies have shown that it can help to prevent diabetes, lower cholesterol and help to reduce inflammation.
Oats have been relegated to the world of boring breakfast fare or cookies, but they’re an excellent source of manganese and provide a healthy dose of B vitamins, phosphorous, fiber and protein. Regular consumption of oats has been found to help prevent cancer and heart disease and may reduce the risk of developing juvenile asthma.
Contrary to popular belief, whole wheat bread can actually help you to maintain a healthy weight. Unhealthy alternatives, like refined white bread, can lead to weight gain. However, healthy whole grains give your body the nutrients it needs. It’s a filling fiber that helps you feel full without adding unnecessary calories.
If you deal with digestion problems, whole grains can actually help. Because it’s packed with fiber, it will keep your bowel movements more regular. The unhealthy breads are what will cause more discomfort. Eating whole grains can also help ward of abdominal conditions that cause inflammation and irritation.
Vegans need to be conscientious of ensuring that they consume enough protein while fulfilling the need for adequate intake of amino acids and B vitamins. While many people mistakenly assume that these vital nutrients are only found in meat, vegans know that the world of whole grains can provide ample nutrition. Some of the world’s healthiest foods are actually vegan, so eat up!
Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO and often writes about health, fitness, family and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family when she isn’t writing. You can find quality whole grain breads at Klosterman Baking Company.