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April 6, 2018

8 Healthy Grains to Eat for Weight Loss

Grains are a tricky food, since our bodies have a twisted relationship with them. Grains are often associated with carbs, but not all carbs are bad. Healthy grains, consumed in the right amounts, can provide fuel for your body, as well as help you lose weight.

So, how do you know which healthy grains to eat for weight loss? We’ve done the research and found a list of some of the best grains to start eating when you’re looking to lose weight. Take caution however, as you should always consult your physician before beginning any new lifestyle changes.

healthy grains to eat for weight loss
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

1. Barley

Though most people associate barley with simple soups and other foods of the like, this grain is actually loaded with a ton of health benefits. Barley is extremely fibrous and cuts your blood sugar response dramatically during certain times of the day. When your sugar is under-control and does not spike as much, your energy and hunger levels will be more balanced.

How to use it: The key to using barley to help you lose weight is the time you eat it. You should eat barley for breakfast in the morning, since it can reduce your blood sugar response by 44 percent at lunch and 14 percent at dinner. Try barley cooked like oatmeal, with toppings like nuts and fruit.

2. Whole-Wheat or Whole-Grain Bread

Okay, there’s more than one grain found in bread, but switching your everyday bread to whole-wheat or whole-grain is a great way to lose weight. It is naturally low-fat, cholesterol free, and provide a ton of fiber, minerals, and vitamins. These types of bread help regulate functions in the body and made from healthy grains to eat for weight loss.

How to use it: Simply replace your sandwich or everyday bread with a whole-wheat or whole-grain option. You can find sandwich bread, buns, bagels, and more made with these grains, but be sure to pay attention to calories.

3. Rolled Oats

Rolled oats can include instant and old-fashioned varieties. They are an excellent tool for adding fiber to your diet, which can regulate your digestive system and add healthy protein. Protein helps restore your energy without the use of fatty, unhealthy calories. Oats can also reduce blood pressure and your risk of heart disease.

How to use it: Instant oatmeal is simply cut-up, old-fashioned oatmeal that is designed to cook faster. Old-fashioned oats take roughly 5 minutes to cook. You can add milk or water to cook oatmeal, and have it for breakfast for a healthy, weight-loss boost. Try adding fruit for a sweet, healthy topping.

4. Millet

Millet is an Asian grain that has risen in popularity in recent years. This is because the grain is gluten-free but contains the same amount of protein as wheat. It can be used to fill your appetite faster than unhealthy carbs and fats. Millet is also rich in calcium, iron, and vitamin B, which provides you with a well-rounded diet.

How to use it: You can use this grain in a variety of ways, and you only need to consume 1-ounce to reap its full benefits. It can be used as a meat-substitute in burgers, baked into desserts like cookies or muffins, or used as a substitute for oatmeal.

5. Brown Rice

Rice is often associated with carbs and weight-gain, but rice can be one of the best healthy grains to eat for weight loss. Plain, brown rice contains a good dose of fiber and minerals, with virtually no salt. It contains resistant starch, a healthy carb that helps burn fat by boosting your metabolism. It is heavy, but filling, without being high in calories.

How to use it: Use brown rice as an alternative to white rice, pasta, or other starch. It can fill your belly in the same way, without any of the negative effects. Brown rice can be used in dishes or eaten by itself, and it’s versatile enough to be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

6. Quinoa

Packed with antioxidants and all nine of the essential amino acids, quinoa is an extremely popular option for healthy grains to eat for weight loss. It is rich in protein, which helps fight hunger throughout the day and it has very-low calories. It can help you attain all the healthy nutrients you need, while also helping you to avoid overeating at other meals.

How to use it: Quinoa is extremely versatile and can be served hot or cold, and found in white, red, and black varieties. To cook quinoa, boil 1-part dried quinoa to 2-parts water. After it is cooked, it can be used as a hot cereal, as a rice-substitute, or added into salads.

7. Steel-Cut Oats

These types of oats are a little different than the other oats on the list of healthy grains to eat for weight loss. Steel-cut oats are cut, but not rolled. They create a longer response-time of certain enzymes in your digestive tract, which results in slower-release of glucose. Controlling glucose is a sure-fire way to keep weight under control.

How to use it: Steel-cut oats take about 30 minutes to cook. You can soak them in water the night before to reduce cooking times. They can be used as an alternative to oatmeal and used in granola. Start your day off with a bowl of steel-cut oats and fruit to curb your appetite throughout the day.

8. Granola

Granola is rich in a variety of nutrients, is fibrous, and can contain very-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. It can include a variety of healthy grains to eat for weight loss and helps regulate your digestion. It helps the body feel hungry faster, so it reduces your appetite and prevents the release of a hormone that makes your body hungry.

How to use it: Granola can be tricky, because most store-bought options are loaded with sugar and other unhealthy ingredients. For the best results, granola should be homemade. You can try this easy recipe to make a quick and easy granola snack.

Wrapping Up

The healthy grains to eat for weight loss on this list can have you controlling your diet and curbing your appetite. Through the proper diet and lifestyle changes, you can start beginning a new path to a happier and healthier you. As always, consult your physician before beginning any weight-loss regimens.

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Dr. Joe Jacko

Dr. Joe is board certified in internal medicine and sports medicine with additional training in hormone replacement therapy and regenerative medicine. He has trained or practiced at leading institutions including the Hughston Clinic, Cooper Clinic, Steadman-Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas, and Cenegenics. He currently practices in Columbus, Ohio at Grandview Primary Care. Read more about Dr. Joe Jacko

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