101. Brown Rice
Rice has gotten a bad rap, partly because it is somewhat calorie-dense and partly because even brown rice turns out to have a surprisingly high glycemic index. But if you eat it with extra fiber and keep your portion size below one cup, rice is an acceptable food, even if you have diabetes. Balance brown rice with a protein food and lots of steamed vegetables, and it takes its rightful place in a healthy, nutritious meal. Brown rice is the whole grain version of rice, with more fiber and more nutrients than its paler counterpart. Just one cup of brown rice will provide you with 88 percent of the recommended daily value for manganese. This mineral is involved in the metabolism of protein and carbohydrates, as well as the synthesis of a number of enzymes, proteins, fatty acids, and hormones. Brown rice is also a good source of selenium, a trace mineral that is involved in many antioxidant reactions in the body and that plays a role in thyroid health. Brown rice is high in fiber, which helps you feel full after eating and speeds the passage of foods through the digestive tract. This may help maintain both a healthy body weight and a healthy colon.
In the late 19th century, it was observed that people who ate brown rice were less likely to get beriberi than those who ate exclusively white, polished rice. This led to an analysis of the differences between the two and helped lead to the discovery of vitamins.
Nutritional Facts :
One cup of cooked long grain brown rice provides 216 calories, 44.8 g carbohydrate, 5 g protein, 1.8 g fat, 3.5 g dietary fiber, 8 mcg folic acid, 84 mg potassium, 10 mg sodium, 162 mg phosphorus, 20 mg calcium, 84 mg magnesium, 1.23 mg zinc, and 1.77 mg manganese.
102. Buckwheat
Buckwheat has a long culinary history in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, where the groats are used in the staple dish kasha. Technically, buckwheat is a pseudograin and not related to wheat at all, with seeds (the groats) that are similar to sunflower seeds. Buckwheat is commonly used in noodles in Japanese, Korean, and Northern Carbohydrates: Grains 169 Italian cuisine. It lacks gluten but is high in protein, antioxidants, vitamins B1 and B2, and the minerals iron, zinc, and selenium.
Buckwheat contains rutin, a glycoside related to quercetin. Like quercetin, rutin appears to have properties that protect blood vessels, inhibiting platelet aggregation and acting as an antioxidant. It is being investigated for its potential in protecting the eyes from diabetic retinopathy, a serious complication of diabetes that can lead to blindness. Rutin helps lower the risk of heart disease as well. One cup of buckwheat provides almost 86 milligrams of magnesium—a mineral that relaxes blood vessels, improving blood flow and nutrient delivery while lowering blood pressure—the perfect combination for a healthy cardiovascular system.
Buckwheat also contains a form of inositol that appears to lower cholesterol and increase insulin sensitivity. This compound is being studied for its potential role in fighting polycystic ovary disease (PCOD) and type 2 diabetes.
Nutritional Facts :
One cup of cooked buckwheat groats provides 182 calories, 39.5 g carbohydrate, 6.7 g protein, 1.2 g fat, 5.3 g dietary fiber, 28 mcg folic acid, 174 mg potassium, 8 mg sodium, 139 mg phosphorus, 14 mg calcium, 101 mg magnesium, and 1.21 mg zinc.
103. Bulgur Wheat
Bulgur wheat is the groat form of wheat. It differs from cracked wheat in that it has been parboiled and dried. The most common types of bulgur have also had the bran removed, but whole grain bulgur is available, and this type has by far the best nutrition profile. Whole grain bulgur has a lower glycemic index than brown or white rice and buckwheat. It is not a gluten-free grain, however, since it is a form of wheat.
Bulgur is an excellent source of several B vitamins—thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, B6, and folate—that are essential to metabolism and that help convert homocysteine into less harmful chemicals; this helps lower blood pressure and protect the heart. It also provides the minerals iron, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, and selenium, and it is high in fiber. The protein in bulgur is not complete. Like other grains, it lacks sufficient lysine, and therefore it should be eaten with foods such as beans or seeds that can provide this essential amino acid.
Nutritional Facts :
One cup of cooked bulgur provides 151 calories, 33.8 g carbohydrate, 5.6 g protein, 0.4 g fat, 8.2 g dietary fiber, 33 mcg folic acid, 124 mg potassium, 9 mg sodium, 73 mg phosphorus, 18 mg calcium, 58 mg magnesium, 1.75 mg iron, 1.04 mg zinc, and 1.11 mg manganese.
104. Corn Tortilla
Corn is included as a vegetable in Chapter 2, yet corn’s history as a grain is far longer.
As a grain, corn is allowed to mature and is dried. People long ago learned to treat the corn with slaked lime (an alkali) to remove the outer hulls and soften the grains enough to make them more palatable. This treatment also improves the nutritional value of dried corn by converting the niacin into a form that the body can more easily absorb. Depending on the process used, such a treatment may also increase the amount of certain minerals in the corn.
In addition to the improved availability of niacin, corn tortillas offer some other B vitamins necessary to metabolism—thiamine, pantothenic acid, and folate.
Nutritional Facts :
One corn tortilla provides 70 calories, 14 g carbohydrate, 2 g protein, 1 g fat, 1.5 g dietary fiber, 2 mg calcium, and 0.36 mg iron.
105. Millet
Millet is not really one single plant, but rather a group of plants that produce small grains. The kind normally sold as food in the United States is proso, or common millet. Other millets sometimes used for food include foxtail millet, pearl millet, and finger millet. Millets are gluten-free grains. Although they are not very closely related to wheat, they have a similar protein content, about 11 percent by weight.
Like many other grains, millets are a good source of B vitamins, including niacin, B6, and folic acid, as well as the minerals calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, and zinc.
In recent studies, a protein extract from a Korean foxtail millet appeared to effectively increase the amount of adiponectin, a protein hormone that modulates a number of metabolic processes, including glucose regulation and fatty acid catabolism.
Mice that were fed a millet extract had higher levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good” cholesterol, and lower levels of blood glucose than those that were not. While this research is very preliminary, and the millet extract was highly concentrated, it raises the possibility that millet may have a role to play in fighting insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Nutritional Facts :
One-half cup of cooked millet provides 143 calories, 28.4 g carbohydrate, 4.2 g protein, 1.2 g fat, 1.5 g dietary fiber, 1.6 mg niacin, 23 mcg folic acid, 74.5 mg potassium, 2.5 mg sodium, 120 mg phosphorus, 3.5 mg calcium, 0.75 mg iron, 53 mg magnesium, and 1.09 mg zinc.
106. Multi Grain Cereals Pilaf
One great thing about the increased concern with healthy eating is that there are products available to make it easier. One of the best things you can do for your health is simply to eat a greater variety of foods, including grains. If you don’t have time to cook multiple grains for every meal, there are prepared products that include several grains in every bite. Look for them in health food stores as well as the supermarket.
Multi-grain products are a way to try out unfamiliar grains, get the Benefits of several grains at once, add a variety of tastes to your day, and give you more satisfaction per chew, since they are so high in fiber.
Nutritional Facts :
One-half cup of cooked multi-grain pilaf provides 170 calories, 30 g carbohydrate, 6 g protein, 3 g fat, 6 g dietary fiber, 2 mg calcium, and 1.4 mg iron.
107. Multi Grain Crackers Bread Whole Grain
Add variety to your day’s grain intake just by opening up a box of multi-grain crackers or having a slice of multi-grain bread. Make sure the crackers and breads that you choose are whole grain, high in fiber, and low in fat. For extra nutritional punch, choose one that includes seeds!
Nutritional Facts :
Fourteen multi-grain crackers provide 150 calories, 22 g carbohydrate, 2 g protein, 6 g fat, 3 g dietary fiber, 2 mg calcium, and 1.4 mg iron.
108. Oat Bran Oatmeal
Oats, oat bran, and oatmeal are famous for providing soluble fiber, which has been shown to help lower cholesterol levels, thus lowering the risk of heart disease.
Although oats are not the only source of soluble fiber, they are an excellent source and a familiar, easily available food.
Studies have found that eating 3 grams of soluble oat fiber per day can help some people with high cholesterol lower their cholesterol levels by 8 to 23 percent.
Since it’s estimated that each 1 percent drop in serum cholesterol translates to a 2 percent decrease in the risk of developing heart disease, oats have become a part of many health programs.
Oats are known for their external soothing properties, so perhaps it’s not surprising that they also provide some special antioxidants. Avenanthramides help prevent free radicals from damaging LDL cholesterol, helping to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Like many other whole grains, oats are a good source of magnesium, a mineral involved in many of the reactions vital to human metabolism.
Beta-glucan is a component of the soluble fiber in oats that is also found in some seaweeds, mushrooms, and brewer’s yeast. Beta-glucan is believed to help fight bacterial infections. Patients with type 2 diabetes who were given foods rich in beta-glucans experienced much lower rises in blood sugar than those who were given white rice or white bread.
Most of the special nutritional Benefits of oats are concentrated in the bran. Oat bran cereal can be an efficient way to maximize those benefits. Oat bran provides about 50 percent more fiber—both soluble and insoluble—than quick oats, and it contains more protein.
Nutritional Facts :
One-half cup of cooked oat bran provides 44 calories, 12.6 g carbohydrate, 3.5 g protein, 0.9 g fat, 6 g dietary fiber, 7 mcg folic acid, 101 mg potassium, 131 mg phosphorus, 11 mg calcium, 44 mg magnesium, and 1.06 mg manganese.
109. Popcorn
Popcorn has a secret identity. Loaded with butter and salt, it’s a heart attack waiting to happen, but treated properly, popcorn is a great high-fiber snack.
Nutritional Facts :
Three and one-half cups of plain, air-popped popcorn provide 107 calories, 21.8 g carbohydrate, 3.4 g protein, 1.2 g fat, 4.2 g dietary fiber, 55 IU vitamin A, 6 mcg folic acid, 84 mg potassium, 1 mg sodium, 84 mg phosphorus, 3 mg calcium, and 37 mg magnesium.
110. Spelt and Spelt Pasta
Spelt is a close relative of wheat and was widely cultivated in the Middle Ages, though over time it lost out to other wheats. When harvested, spelt has a tough hull on the grains that must be removed before it can be milled into flour.
Spelt provides potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, and the B vitamins niacin, thiamine, and riboflavin. As a close relative of wheat, its nutrition profile is much the same, though it appears to provide more niacin. Spelt also contains gluten, making it inappropriate for people with celiac disease or on gluten-free diets.
Nutritional Facts :
One and one-half cups of cooked organic whole spelt pasta provide 190 calories, 40 g carbohydrate, 8 g protein, 1.5 g fat, 5 g dietary fiber, and 1.8 mg iron.

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