Whole grains: why they're good for you

Janella Purcell
Friday, February 1, 2013
Whole grains are necessary for proper digestion, calming the nervous system, encouraging sleep and satisfying hunger and taste, thereby decreasing cravings, while promoting energy and endurance, elimination, good reflexes, a long memory and clear thinking. Whole grains require a different digestive procedure than refined grains do.

Many grains are mildly acidic and most diseases involve an overly acidic condition in the blood, so they must be chewed well, as saliva is needed for digesting them properly, from the top to the bottom of the gastrointestinal tract. Saliva is alkaline. Those who have trouble chewing should eat their whole grains as cereals.

Amaranth
This is great for those with increased nutritional needs, such as lactating mothers, pregnant women, children, toddlers and those who do physical work. Higher in lysine than other grains, it has an intense flavour (and is quite pricey), so may be mixed with other grains. It contains 15-18 percent protein, is high in fibre, amino acids and vitamin C and has more calcium, magnesium and silicon than milk.

Barley
Barley builds the blood, benefits the gall bladder and nerves and is easy to digest. Whole barley is more nutritious than pearled barley, has more fibre, twice the calcium and three times the iron and 25 percent more protein. Roasting will make barley alkaline, aid digestion and is a great coffee substitute. It also helps infants tolerate mother’s milk.

Buckwheat
Buckwheat improves appetite and strengthens digestion. It contains rutin, a bioflavonoid that may reduce blood pressure and improve circulation to hands and feet. Sprouted buckwheat is a great source of enzymes, chlorophyll and vitamins. It will die when grown with most chemicals.

Corn
Corn promotes healthy teeth and gums, helps kidneys and sexual problems and improves digestion.

Millet
Millet balances over-acid conditions, strengthens the kidneys, reduces bacteria in the mouth, is high in protein and silicon, helps prevent miscarriage and reduces candida overgrowth. Roasted, it will help with diarrhoea, indigestion and diabetes. Also may ease morning sickness.

Oats
Oats aid the nervous and reproductive systems, strengthen heart muscles and remove cholesterol from arteries and the gastrointestinal tract. They are helpful for indigestion, sexual dysfunction, abdominal bloating, diabetes, nervous tension and dysentery. They help with bone density and renew connective tissue, as well as being high in silicon. They also contain phosphorus, which is required for brain and nerve formation in children.

Quinoa
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is a cousin of amaranth. It strengthens the whole body and has the highest protein content of any grain (similar profile to amaranth). It contains more calcium than milk, is a very good source of iron, phosphorus and B and E vitamins. Great for vegetarians. It is a very strong and quite a pricey grain, so can be combined with other grains.

Rice
Rice expels toxins from the body. It is high in vitamin B, so will help with nervous tension and depression. It may be used for nausea, diabetes and diarrhoea. White rice lacks bran and the associated fibre and essential nutrients. An old Chinese proverb suggests that brown rice preserves spiritual and physical strength.

Rye
Rye increases strength and endurance, cleans out arteries and is great for nail, hair and bone health. Useful to treat migraines and to increase tooth enamel. Suited more to sourdough baking, as it is a very hard grain.

Wheat
Wheat calms the mind and helps with focus. May be used in cases of insomnia, palpitations, symptoms of menopause, irritability and disorders of the nervous system. Eat in moderation if you are overweight, if at all. It can be used in cases of bed-wetting and diarrhoea. Should be eaten with caution if you have allergies.

Related video: weight-loss carbs


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