Grains are the seeds of grasses, which are cultivated for food. They are an essential part of a healthy diet. Eating whole grains lowers the risk of many chronic diseases.

Brown rice

Brown rice is an excellent source of magnesium, iron, selenium, manganese, and the vitamins B1, B2, B3, and B6. Brown rice is a good source of dietary fiber, protein, and gamma-oryzanol. White rice is brown rice that has had essential nutrients removed when processed in order to make it easier and faster to cook, and to give it a longer shelf life. This is accomplished by removing the bran, and with it, minerals and vitamins that are necessary in our diet. The health benefits of brown rice include heart disease, cancer and diabetes prevention and digestive health. Studies show that people with the highest dietary fiber intake have the lowest cardiovascular risk. Wholegrains contain special compound called lignans, which are converted by good bacteria in the gut into useful substance that can help prevent cancer.

The low glycemic index of brown rice helps to create a more sustained release of glucose into the bloodstream, which prevents sugar spikes and puts less stress on the pancreas that needs to pump out less insulin to deal with the glucose load.

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  • Millet

    Millet is more than just an interesting alternative to the more common grains. It a good source of some very important nutrients, including manganese, phosphorus, and magnesium. Millet is a grain that should also be included on your list of heart-healthy choices because of its status as a good source of magnesium. Magnesium has been shown in studies to reduce the severity of asthma and to reduce the frequency of migraine attacks. Magnesium has also been shown to lower high blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attack, especially in people with atherosclerosis or diabetic heart disease. Niacin (vitamin B3) can be helpful in improving cholesterol numbers.

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  • Amaranth

    Unlike other grains, amaranth is a good source of protein. It is rich in the amino acids lysine, methionine, and cycteine, with a higher content of lysine than any other grain. It is also high in fiber, with three times the fiber of wheat. Amaranth is loaded with vitamins and minerals. It has more than 20% of the recommended daily amount of calcium, iron, magnesium, and folate.
    Amaranth is also a good source of potassium, phosphorus, and vitamins A, C, and E. It is a cholesterol-lowering food, with both tocotrienols and phytosterols, two natural compounds known to help the body improve cholesterol numbers. Amaranth is an ideal addition to any health-conscious diet.

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  • Quinoa

    Quinoa is a good source of magnesium, the mineral that helps relax blood vessels, preventing the constriction and rebound dilation characteristic of migraines. If you are prone to migraines, try adding quinoa to your diet. Increased intake of magnesium has been shown to be related to a reduced frequency of headache episodes reported by migraine sufferers.

    Since low dietary levels of magnesium are associated with increased rates of hypertension, ischemic heart disease and heart arrhythmias, this ancient grain can offer yet another way to provide cardiovascular health for those concerned about atherosclerosis.

    Quinoa is also a good source of riboflavin, which is necessary for proper energy production within cells. Riboflavin (also called vitamin B2) has been shown to help reduce the frequency of attacks in migraine sufferers, most likely by improving the energy metabolism within their brain and muscle cells.

    Quinoa is an excellent source of manganese and a good source of copper, two minerals that serve as cofactors for the superoxide dismutase enzyme. Superoxide dismutase is an antioxidant that helps to protect the mitochondria from oxidative damage created during energy production as well as guard other cells, such as red blood cells, from injury caused by free radicals.

    These are nutrient-dense, hypoallergenic, complex carbohydrates, with a balance of B vitamins and magnesium to support optimal digestion and balanced blood sugar. The over consumption of wheat, rye, and oats contribute to digestive weakness, immune activation and chronic inflammatory disorders.

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  • Wholegrains are rich in insoluble fiber, which increases stool bulk and decreases the transit time of waste through the intestines.

    Additional benefits include —

    • Significant cardiovascular benefits for postmenopausal women
    • Heart protective properties
    • Development and repair of body tissue
    • Substantially lower type 2 diabetes risk
    • Protective against breast cancer
    • Helps prevent gallstones
    • Antioxidant protection
    • Help for migraine headaches
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  • Nuts and Seeds

    Researchers have found that people who eat nuts regularly have lower risks of heart disease.

    Nuts are one of the best plant sources of protein. They are rich in fiber phytonutrients and antioxidants such as Vitamin E and selenium. Nuts and seeds are also high in plant sterols and fat – but mostly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (omega 3-the good fats) which have all been shown to improve total cholesterol numbers.

    Nuts and seeds both fall into the “super immunity food” category, with a number of health benefits associated with adding these to one’s daily intake. Snacking on seeds is also a very healthy nutritious alternative to eating empty calorie foods such as chocolate and chips, while adding seeds or nuts to a salad or a bowl of yogurt is a simple way to boost immunity.

    Although nuts and seeds are high in calories, so are often shunned by dieters, the good news is that one does not need to consume many to receive nutritional benefits. Simply eating a handful of nuts and seeds a day will provides a whole range of goodness, without piling on the pounds.

    Key health benefits associated with consuming nuts and seeds

    • Help reduce fatigue
    • Decrease feelings of irritability
    • Reduce insomnia problems
    • Improve asthma
    • Lower risk of heart attack by 15% by lowering cholesterol
    • Provide essential mineral-magnesium
    • Reduce constipation and kidney stones
    • Boost immune system
    • Rich in omega-3 fatty acid
    • Provide essential vitamin C
    • Contain plenty of antioxidants

    As highlighted above, both nuts and seeds are super immunity foods, which help boost the immune system, reduce fatigue and heart problems. Walnuts help lower the risk of suffering from anxiety and depression while almonds contain biotin for healthy hair and skin, with pistachios reducing constipation by providing plenty of fiber. Eating flax seeds help lower cholesterol and treat menopausal symptom.

    The best approach is to reap the health benefits of eating nuts but not add excessive calories to your daily intake. So instead of simply adding nuts to your diet, eat them in replacement of foods that are high in saturated fats and limit your intake of these tasty treats to 1 to 2 oz per day. For instance, instead of adding chocolate chips when making cookies, sprinkle on some raw nuts. Or instead of making a deli meat sandwich, try a nut butter sandwich. Nuts are most beneficial and nutritious in their raw, natural state.

    Examples of nuts of seeds

    • Pistachio
    • Almond
    • Walnut
    • Brazil
    • Cashew
    • Filbert
    • Pecan
    • Hazel
    • Macadamia
    • Pine Nuts
    • Chia Seeds
    • Flax
    • Sunflower
    • Pumpkin Seeds