Whole grains are among the healthiest kinds of food you can incorporate into your diet. They're high in nutrients such as B vitamins (niacin, thiamine, and folate), minerals like magnesium and iron, antioxidants such as lignans and ferulic acid, as well as even plant compounds like stanols and sterols.
Plus, they're rich in protein, which Dr. Geralyn Frandsen, professor and assistant director at Maryville University’s online RN to BSN, points out in a health article can be crucial in maintaining healthy muscles. Weak muscles can affect your overall stability, she shares in an article published by Prevention Magazine. As such, consuming the right amount of protein is something that older individuals should be especially mindful of to avoid falls and fractures.
But even among younger people, whole grains can help you fight off aging and live longer. After all, whole grains are linked to lowered risks of heart disease and stroke, decreased susceptibility to type-2 diabetes, and reduced chronic inflammation. They even promote healthy digestion since they're full of fiber.
But with so many whole grains available on the market, which ones should you be eating?
One of the hallmarks of a good energizing protein bar, like those we make here at Empact, is having some whole grains for ingredients. One of them is the nutrient-dense chia. It's full of protein, fiber, Omega-3’s, calcium, vitamins, and minerals. These not only boost one's energy, but they're also great for the heart, digestion, skin, bones, and brain. It's no small wonder then that chia literally translates to "strength" in the ancient Mayan vernacular.
While chia is a well-known superfood already, sorghum hasn't gotten the credit it deserves. A group of researchers from the University of Melbourne found that sorghum is highly rich in phytochemical content. This means sorghum reduces the chance of cancer, promotes cardiovascular health, and helps manage cholesterol levels. Not coincidentally, sorghum crisps and dates are part of our Coconut Crave Empact Bar, which also has coconut shreds and chia. That's why it's a good go-to for your daily snack!
Like chia, this whole grain is an ancient seed from South America, and it's packed with protein, making it crucial to muscle growth and recovery. Quinoa also boasts all nine essential amino acids — histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine — that make it vital to energy production, tissue growth, nutrient absorption, and immune function.
Now getting its due as a superfood is amaranth, whose seeds can be considered as a complete protein. A complete protein contains all nine essential amino acids. So, consuming amaranth will give the same health benefits as eating quinoa. Amaranth even contains vitamins A and C, along with calcium, iron, potassium, and phosphorus. Additionally, amaranth is naturally gluten-free — making it the perfect whole grain for someone with a low tolerance for conventional protein.
Traditionally served in soups and salads, this popular whole grain contains high amounts of dietary fiber, an array of phytochemicals, and the soluble fiber beta-glucan. This means barley promotes healthy digestion, helps reduce bad cholesterol, and enhances immunity as well. And, just for good measure, barley also has manganese and selenium, as well as the B vitamin thiamine.
Last but not least are oats, which contain lots of polyphenols that enhance the immune system. Polyphenols are also powerful anti-inflammatories. Aside from that, oats contain beta-glucan that helps reduce bad cholesterol. Other nutrients found in oats include the minerals iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese, and selenium. These all help the brain, heart, muscles, and bones function optimally.
Specially written for EMPACTBARS.com
By: Rhonda Jannah