8 Healthier Alternatives to White Rice

( - Rice is one of a few favorite grains people like to eat, as entrees or sides for entrees. But, rice is not your best option. Yes, it is delicious and goes perfect with some dishes but its nutritional value is not much. Not only is it detrimental to your health, it is full of unwanted calories and stocked with carbohydrates. To help you move on from rice and on to grains more beneficial for your health, especially if someone suffers from diabetes, this list of alternate grains for white rice is here to inform you of the nutritious grains out there, which not only help you with your protein intake and regulate blood sugar level but also help with weight loss.

1. Quinoa

According to most botanists quinoa is considered a seed. It has become a very popular alternative grain. It has been in use for centuries, even considered ancient food, as it was used by the Incas. It contains all nine essential amino acids, it’s a complete form of protein. This nutritious grain not only fulfills your body’s requirement of protein, but it is also high in fiber, iron, vitamin E, calcium and other beneficial antioxidants. Its fiber content is very high, more than what most other grains have to offer, it has 17 to 27 grams of fiber per cup. Although the useful fiber is soluble fiber which is still present in high content in quinoa. Soluble fiber helps reduce blood glucose level because of quinoa’s low glycemic index. It is also a great alternative for losing weight since it is high in protein, which would help increase metabolism.

2. Millet

Although not a new discovery in grains, it is still considered a quality rival grain to wheat, rice and oats. It is filling and does not have a high impact on blood glucose level compared to other grains. Research has shown that millet may be useful for supporting ocular health. The impressive thing about millet is that it is alkaline and digests easily. It also hydrates your colon while acting as a prebiotic feeding microorganisms in your intestines, which also keeps you from feeling constipated. This alternative grain also has a low glycemic index, which means it does not have a startling impact on your blood sugar. The magnesium in millet can help decrease the effects of migraines and heart attacks.

3. Brown Rice

Although it is rice, it is not the processed, refined white rice that you are trying to avoid. Brown rice is the unprocessed form of white rice, which means it still contains bran, germ and endosperm. This allows the rice to keep its fiber intact and slows down the impact the carbohydrates would have on blood sugar level. It is also rich in selenium, it reduces your chances of developing common illnesses. Brown rice has a high content of manganese, which helps your body synthesize fats and it also benefits the reproductive and nervous systems. Brown rice not only has a low impact on sugar levels in your blood but also helps stabilize it, therefore it is a great alternative food source for those suffering from diabetes.

4. Buckwheat

Although it may sound like a type of wheat, buckwheat is not related to wheat at all. This gluten-free grain is similar to quinoa, except it’s larger in size and softer in texture. Buckwheat, like quinoa, contains essential amino acids. It is a great alternative for rice, oats and flour. Buckwheat has a lot of health benefits, it improves heart health by lowering cholesterol and blood pressure levels. It lowers bad cholesterol levels while it promotes good cholesterol. Buckwheat also contains antioxidants which help fight cancer and heart diseases. Buckwheat’s high content of fiber helps your metabolism by improving digestion. Due to its low glycemic index, buckwheat is absorbed into the bloodstream slowly, and also helps in balancing blood sugar levels. Buckwheat is gluten-free and provides important vitamins and minerals such as, iron, zinc, manganese and magnesium.

5. Amaranth

This alternative grain contains lysine, an amino acid that is lacking in wheat. It is seen as a healthy alternative to help vegans or vegetarians get their daily dose of protein, and gluten-free. The protein is highly digestible, compared to other grains and seeds, the lysine present in amaranth helps with the absorption of calcium and build muscle. Amaranth contains oils and phytosterols which help lower cholesterol levels. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, the peptides and oils present can help with pain and reduce inflammation. The phytonutrients and fiber present also help in lowering blood pressure, according to some studies. This seed helps with cholesterol, inflammation and blood pressure, therefore, it is good for heart health. Amaranth can be eaten in a variety of ways, often times it is toasted, boiled and baked. It can also be used as flour.

6. Kaniwa

This healthy grain is making way into the modern world, it is dubbed to be the new quinoa. It is pretty similar to quinoa in nutrition and taste. It does not have saponins, which coat quinoa seeds. Saponins interfere with the proper intake of nutrients. Kaniwa is a good source for high-quality protein, it includes all essential amino acids, including lysine. Kaniwa is also naturally gluten-free, while it contains vitamin B and a variety of minerals such as iron, phosphorus and calcium. Kaniwa contains antioxidants such as flavonoids, which have anti-aging effects on the skin and help prevent cardiovascular diseases. Kaniwa seems to be fully packed with health benefits, looking young with great heath? What could be better!

7. Barley

Being a whole grain, it has numerous health benefits which overcome those of white rice. Barley contains a high amount of fiber which contributes in lowering cholesterol. In addition to its fiber content, barley contains niacin, a B vitamin which takes actions against cardiovascular diseases. Barley is rich in magnesium, which is a co-factor for about 300 enzymes in your body. An eight-year study showed that women who eat whole grains regularly lower their risk of getting type 2 diabetes by 31 percent. Another study showed that women who ate whole grains and fiber-rich foods, such as barley were less likely to develop gallstones.

8. Lentil

This nutritious legume is a smart option for an alternative for white rice, as it is low in calories and has more health benefits. Lentils contain insoluble dietary fiber that helps prevents digestive disorders such as, constipation, or irritable bowel syndrome. The soluble fiber also helps in stabilizing blood glucose level, it traps carbohydrates which slows down digestion and help in the stabilization of blood sugar levels. Lentils, full of complex carbohydrates and fiber for increase in energy are also a good source of iron, which helps in oxygenating your blood. Lentils are also an excellent food to eat for weight loss, they are low in calories, yet meet all of your body’s nutritional needs.

Stop buying white rice and start using these grains with your meals instead. They protect your heart and sugar levels, and contain protein too.

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