Incorporating nuts, seeds and grains into your daily diet is a great way to stay healthy. Due to their complex composition, these super foods digest slowly, have a low glycemic index value, and are packed with protein.

Grains

When including grains into your routine, the whole grain variety is the best choice. When grains are refined, they lose much of their health benefits because they contain only the starchy (endosperm) portion of the grain. Refined grains can be digested more rapidly than whole grains so consuming them will not keep you fuller for longer. Whole grains contain the bran and germ portions, which allows them to retain key nutrients such as vitamin E and fiber.

Oats are a great example of a healthy whole grain. They provide a slow release of energy and can help lower cholesterol. Other nutritious grains include barley, quinoa, brown rice, and buckwheat.

Seeds

Seeds are packed with good fats, protein, and fiber. Seeds must first be ground up before eating them because your body cannot break down the outer exterior husk and digest them effectively. Some readily available seed options are:

  • Flax
  • Hemp
  • Chia
  • Pomegranate
  • Sunflower
  • Sesame

Nuts

Nuts contain healthy fats that protect your joints and heart, with a slow release of energy that keeps you fuller for longer. Nuts, especially almonds and hazelnuts, are a good source of the antioxidant vitamin E, which is essential for a healthy immune system and tissues. Nuts also contain iron and folate, which can speed up muscle recovery from exercise.

Nuts, seeds, and grains offer a great variety to get key vitamins and minerals into your everyday diet. When buying these foods, be aware of added ingredients such as additives, and processed oils. When purchasing grain products, choose unprocessed, whole grain varieties. With so many options in the market, you can experiment with taste and preparation to find the best foods to suit your tastes.

Sources:

http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstractfromPage=online&aid=807108&fileId=s0029665103000211

http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstractfromPage=online&aid=996644&fileId=S000711450600359X

http://nutritionreviews.oxfordjournals.org/content/67/12/731.abstract

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expertanswers/flaxseed/faq-20058354