You’ve heard the buzz about going grain-free. The Paleo Diet, which centers on a grain-free diet, is all over the news and internet these days. But, you have always been told that “Grains are healthy and give you necessary fiber!” and “Grains are full of essential nutrients!” and, “They are low-fat!”

Scientific and historical research show, however, that not only have humans not always eaten grains, but the human body is not really designed to function well on grains at all!

Grains contain phytic acid, a mineral blocker that prevents absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and zinc. This phytic acid is found in the bran of all grains as well as the outer coating of seeds and nuts.

Should You Grain Free?

 

Besides the phytic acid, which strips your body of nutrients, another serious disadvantage to grain consumption is the spike in insulin production which alters hormone production in the body. Insulin production is an important process for storing nutrients and processing glucose in the bloodstream, but our bodies simply can’t handle the insulin requirements we throw at them with the carb load we consume these days.

Studies have shown, and I have seen in my own work with clients, that a no-grain or low-grain diet can lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, promote weight loss, alleviate dermatitis or acne, end digestive disturbances like heart disease, increase fertility and dramatically improve energy levels.

But… Don’t worry! You don’t have to go 100% grain-free. An 80/20 approach is perfect!

While grains are not the most nutrient-dense foods out there, and we can obtain all nutrients in grain from other sources, whole grains still can be part of an affordable, healthy diet when eaten in the right amount with vegetables, spices and other good-for-you ingredients.

So… if you are going to eat grains, remember a few tips:

- Consuming foods with phytate (an antinutrient,) such as grain, with vitamin C has been shown to cancel the negative effects of phytate and its ability to limit our bodies iron intake. So it’s a good idea to eat some vitamin-C rich veggies and fruits along with your grains, such as grapefruit, kiwi, mango, strawberries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale and peppers.

- Using vinegar in salad dressings and cooking enhances mineral absorption and offsets phytates as well.

- Cooking grains reduces or eliminates toxins; plus, preparing grains by soaking and sprouting and fermenting makes their nutrients more usable by our bodies and further eliminates anti-nutrients.

The bottom line…

Make sure that if you are going to eating grains, that they are whole grains and that you are combining them with the right foods and preparing them properly and you will go a long way in improving your health!

You don’t have to go 100% grain-free, but if you want to see an improvement in your health and your energy, you should consider cutting as many of the grains out of your diet as possible and see how you feel. My guess is that you will not really want to go back to your old ways of eating once you see how much better you feel!

 

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