Eating whole grains is an important part of a healthy and balanced diet. Why? Well, processing grains reduces their nutritional power. When a grain’s bran and germ are removed to make products such as white rice and white flour, certain nutrients and phytochemicals are lost. Depending on the grain, this can be up to 90 percent!
Another benefit of eating whole grains is that they’re absorbed more slowly by the body than refined grains, helping prevent sugar and insulin spikes.
Though the difference is greater in fruits and vegetables, organic grains consistently have stronger nutrition values than conventionally grown grains, especially with regard to antioxidant phytochemicals. So to get the most nutrition out of your whole-grain meal, look for organically grown options.
And if you want to avoid gluten, see our list of gluten-free whole grains.
Need a new way to try barley? Try this recipe for vegan Bean and Barley Chili from the Taste for Life test kitchen.