In celebration of national whole grains month, we are sharing our top 5 reasons to cut the crap (processed grains) and go for whole grains like quinoa, barley, brown rice, buckwheat, farro and oats. In need of some whole grain recipe inspiration? Try the recipe below for our cipollini onion, fennel and arugula farrotto and start reaping the whole grain benefits.
1. Vitamin and mineral boost
Processed grains are stripped of the bran and germ layer, which is where many of the beneficial vitamins and minerals are found. Whole grains deliver many important nutrients such as magnesium and iron as well as vitamins B and E.
2. Happy gut = happy life
The high fiber content in whole grains helps to keep your digestion regular. Additionally, certain fibers in whole grains can serve as food for the healthy bacteria in your gut.
3. Reduce your cancer risk
You can add cancer-fighting to the whole grain resume. Research has shown that high fiber foods like whole grains reduce the risk for breast cancer and colorectal cancer. Additionally, whole grains are helpful for weight maintenance and maintaining a healthy weight is another way to reduce your cancer risk.
4. Show your heart some love
Whole grains high in viscous fiber (like oats and barley) decrease LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, both of which are major contributors to heart disease.
5. Keep your blood sugar in check
Whole grains are digested more slowly than their refined grain counterparts. This mechanism keeps insulin levels from spiking, which in the short-term can cause lethargy and hunger while prolonged insulin spikes can lead to Type 2 Diabetes.
Cipollini Onion, Fennel and Arugula Risotto
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 cipollini onions, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1 fennel bulb, chopped
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 4.5 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup farro
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 cup arugula
- Lemon juice, to taste
- 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
1. Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large pot. Add onions, garlic and fennel and cook until softened. Add celery and sauté until soft.
2. Heat stock in a separate pot.
3. Rinse faro, shake dry and add to onions, fennel, celery and garlic.
4. Add white wine, cook until absorbed. Slowly add hot stock until fully absorbed (~20-30 minutes, stirring consistently).
5. Add arugula. Cover, let sit for 5 minutes.
6. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Garnish with toasted pine nuts.
By: Claire Schmitt, MS Candidate in Clinical Nutrition at NYU