We all know we should be choosing wholegrains over refined grains but what exactly are wholegrains? Wholegrains are grains that still include the bran, germ and the endosperm of a grain once they have been processed. They are an important component of a nutritious diet and it’s easy to see why – they are rich in fibre, minerals, vitamins and higher in protein then refined carbohydrates.
Looking for the best gluten-free options? Here are 4 of my favourites:
Quinoa definitely makes it into one of my top pantry staples as it’s a complete protein, containing all essential amino acids. It has a low glycaemic index (making it great for blood sugar control) and is naturally gluten-free. It has higher concentrations of vitamin A, B vitamins, vitamin C and Vitamin E than other typical cereal grains. Quinoa is rich in soluble fibre, perfect for regulating bowl movements. I love quinoa for its ability to cook easily and how versatile it is to prepare. You could enjoy quinoa with a salad, tabouli, porridge, vegetarian patties and sushi! When preparing quinoa, it’s important to wash thoroughly and soak for 1 hour or overnight. This is because quinoa is coated with a substance called saponins. These are bitter phytochemicals which can irritate the digestive system when consumed.
- Brown rice
The difference between brown and white rice is acquired through the milling process. White rice is left with only the starchy middle layer (endosperm) as the bran (the outer layer) is removed. This results in a loss of fibre, protein, phosphorus, calcium and B-vitamins. Due to the higher fibre content found in brown rice it has a lower glycaemic index, meaning it is digested, absorbed and metabolised slower which causes a gradual rise in blood sugar levels. Brown rice has a nuttier flavour and is more chewy than white rice. I absolutely love adding brown rice as a side to grilled salmon, through a salad or making healthy fried rice.
Check out my super simple Healthy Fried Rice with Kale, Garlic and Chilli.
What would I do without buckwheat? The list of things I like to use buckwheat for are endless. Whether it’s buckwheat soba noodles, buckwheat flour in waffles and buckwheat groats to top on oats or Greek yoghurt. When cooking the grain, make sure to soak it first and then rinse well. Simply cook the grain in a large pot of boiling water for around 8-10 minutes or until softened and al dente (drain the excess water after cooking and rinse well). Once cooked, it’s delicious tossed through salads or can be used to make a nutrient rich porridge. In contrast to wheat, buckwheat is abundant in protein, antioxidants and is gluten-free. It is also rich in fibre, minerals and possesses a high antioxidant power including Rutin, a flavonoid present in many plants.
- Wild Rice
I’m loving wild rice lately as it makes the dish looks so beautiful. The nutty flavour complements almost anything it is paired with. The protein content of wild rice is high with an adequate balance of amino acids. It’s also a great source of B-vitamins (specifically B1, B2 and B3), dietary fibre and vitamin E. Wild rice is rich in complex carbohydrates and is therefore a great source of slow-releasing energy. You could pair this with a delicious salad, grilled chicken or fish.
You will find a delicious ‘Miso Salmon & Rice Bowl’ in the JSHealth app, with a corresponding cooking video so you can make it step by step with me.
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- Ravichanthiran K, Ma Z, Zhang H, Cao Y, Wang C, Muhammad S et al. Phytochemical Profile of Brown Rice and Its Nutrigenomic Implications. Antioxidants. 2018;7(6):71.
- Li L, Lietz G, Seal C. Buckwheat and CVD Risk Markers: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Nutrients. 2018;10(5):619.
- Umar M, Ugonor R, Kolawole S, Akin-Osanaiye C. Evaluation Of Nutritional Value Of Wild Rice From Kaduna State, Central Nigeria. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SCIENTIFIC & TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH. 2013;2(7):140-147.