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Health benefits of common grains

common grains

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Offering vitamin B, vitamin E, iron, magnesium, zinc, and potassium, grains boast a whole trove of health benefits and taste great. Learn more about the value of some of the more common grains found in Singapore, and how you can include them in your diet.


Oats

Containing the cholesterol-lowering soluble fibre beta-glucan, oats promote cardiovascular health. Besides this, they are also chock-full of minerals and vitamins, and hardly ever lose any of their bran and germ during processing.

Oats are a pretty simple staple to include in your diet - all you have to do is to add hot water (for instant oats) or cook it over a fire and there you have it, a bowl of hearty and healthy breakfast porridge. Add some fruits and nuts for colour and taste. Should you prefer a more savoury flavour, stirring in a handful of chopped onions, mushrooms, and a dash of olive oil over high heat would also produce a deliciously viable option.

Barley

Aside from its low gluten, fat, and sodium content, barley is also a grain that is made up of that superior fibre beta-glucan. Although lightly pearled barley may lose some of its original nutrients (bran and such) during the cooking process and may be less preferable to hulled barley, it is still a more wholesome substitute for refined grains such as white rice.

There are many ways to use this versatile grain in cooking. It is a healthier alternative that may be used in place of rice. Throw some mushrooms, tomatoes, and lean protein into a pan and cook them with a cup of pearl barley for a nutritious twist on traditional Italian risotto.

Buckwheat

Buckwheat boasts large amounts of a specific antioxidant called rutin that has anti-inflammatory properties and helps lower blood pressure. Apart from this, it is also high in protein, gluten-free, and promotes better circulation.

When dining at a Japanese eatery, opt for the brown buckwheat instead of the green tea soba for your daily dose of this powerful grain. A refreshing dish of cold buckwheat noodles - resist that side of tempura! - would make the perfect meal for our hot and humid weather.

Corn

Corn is inexpensive, full of nutritional benefits, and, most importantly, tasty. What more could you ask for from this humble grain? Although generally regarded as a grain that contains a lower vitamin content than most, corn is nevertheless high in antioxidants and rich in fibre.

Fresh steamed corn (hold the butter!), grilled corn, Asian-style corn soup, and corn salad are just a few ways to eat corn. Additionally, you could also take advantage of the sweetness of the grain, and add it to your cooking as a healthy, natural sweetener. Cut up a ear of corn and boil it along with your noodles or congee for enhanced flavour.

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