Whole-Grain Barley

Whole-Grain Barley

People who ate a half-cup of whole barley regularly during a five-week period USDA study saw their cholesterol levels drop by nearly 10% compared to those who went without. Try adding raisins or dried apricots to quick-cooking barley and serving it as a side dish. Just make sure it’s whole-grain barley, not “pearled,” which means the bran and germ have been removed.

Buckwheat
Baking Healthy Buckwheat Crepe
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Many people living with celiac disease can tolerate this whole grain, along with quinoa, amaranth, and sorghum. And it’s one of the best grain-based sources of magnesium, a wonder mineral that does everything from ease PMS symptoms to improve nerve functioning; and manganese, which boosts brain power. And thank goodness for that, because who doesn’t enjoy a good buckwheat pancake from time to time?

Bulgur
Bulgur on a dark background. Vegetarian Oriental food.
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For all practical purposes, bulgur is considered a whole grain, even though up to 5% of its bran may be removed during processing. It’s so good for you, though, we’re putting it on the list. The grain, which is used to make tabbouleh salad, is a great source of iron and magnesium. The fiber and protein powerhouse (a cup contains nearly 75% of the dietary fiber you need for the day, and 25% of the protein you should get) can be used in salads or tossed in soups. Plus it cooks in only a few minutes.

Quinoa
boiled quinoa
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Though it’s technically a seed and not a grain, this ancient South American power food is packed with more protein than any other grain, and each uncooked cup of the stuff (about three servings) has 522 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids. Your family will likely enjoy its light, nutty flavor for a change of pace at the dinner table. And it keeps well, so makes an easy make-ahead lunch to pack to work or school.

Whole-Wheat Couscous
Couscous with tomatoes and basil
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Most of the couscous you see is a form of pasta made from refined wheat flour. So when you’re eyeing the aisle for the healthiest couscous pick, look for the whole-wheat kind, most easily found in natural food stores. Skipping the refined version and going with the whole-grain type will net you 5 additional grams of fiber per serving.

Corn
Sweetcorn
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Corn can be extremely healthy for you when it’s whole. A good source of B vitamins, magnesium, and phosphorus, whole corn is also thought to increase healthy gut flora, which can ward off diabetes, heart disease, and chronic inflammation. Yellow corn is also high in antioxidants.

The easiest way to eat it? Popcorn. You can buy the kernels and pop them in a microwave using an ordinary paper bag, or do it the old-fashioned way on the stovetop.

LEAH ZERBE

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