Food Fight: Whole Grains!

School Of Nutrition Posted Oct 28, 2014 Future Fit Training


We all know that whole grains are nutritionally superior to their white or refined counterparts. However, the various whole grains differ in nutrient density. So which whole grain is better for you?

Food Fight: Whole Grains!

Whole Grains

Let’s look at some stats comparing 1 cup of cooked servings:

 

QUINOA

BULGUR

SPELT

PEARL BARLEY

WILD RICE

Calories

222kcal

151kcal

246kcal

193kcal

166kcal

Protein

8.1g

5.6g

10.7g

3.5g

6.5g

Fibre

5.2g

8.2g

7.6g

6g

3g

Vitamin E

1.2mg

0mg

0.5mg

0g

0.4mg

Folate

77.7mcg

32.8mcg

25.2mcg

25.1mcg

42.6mcg

Magnesium

118mg

58.2mg

95.1mg

34.5mg

52.5mg

Manganese

1.2mg

1.1mg

2.1mg

0.4mg

0.5mg

Selenium

5.2mcg

1.1mcg

7.8mcg

13.5mcg

1.3mcg

Here are some highlights:

  • One cup of cooked spelt provides a whopping 10.7 grams of protein and quinoa has 8.1 grams.
  • If you are looking for a high-fibre whole grain, bulgur, with 8.2 grams of insoluble fibre, is your best choice. Spelt is a close second with 7.6 grams of insoluble fibre. Barley, on the other hand, supplies both soluble and insoluble fibre, totaling 6 grams per cup, while quinoa has 5.2 grams of the combination.
  • Quinoa takes 1st place with 1.2 mg of vitamin E, a potent anti-oxidant, while spelt and wild rice also made it to the top 3 with 0.5 mg and 0.4 mg of vitamin E, respectively.
  • Quinoa also tops all other whole grains with 77.7 mcg of folate per cup of cooked serving. Wild rice is a distant second with 42.6 mcg. Folate plays an essential role in preventing neural tube defects in babies when consumed during pregnancy. Folate also helps lower the risk of heart attacks, making quinoa a heart-friendly food.
  • Again quinoa made it to the top with 118 mg of magnesium, while runner-up spelt has 95.1 mg per cup.  Magnesium may help prevent hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
  • The mineral manganese plays important roles in anti-oxidant reactions within the body. Spelt has the highest level of manganese, closely followed by quinoa and bulgur.
  • In terms of selenium content, the best contender is pearl barley, with spelt and quinoa second and third best, respectively. Selenium acts as an anti-oxidant, scavenging free radicals that can damage cells and contribute to cardiovascular disease, cancer and cognitive decline.

 

OUR WINNERS: Quinoa and Spelt!

All whole grains are undoubtedly nutritious and can add variety to your diet. However, quinoa scored high in vitamin E, folate and magnesium, whereas spelt’s protein content is unparalleled. So why not give them both a go, or indeed any of the whole grains? I promise once you have tried them you’ll never want to go back to boring white rice again!

Written by Victoria Trowse

 

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