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The healthiest and most harmful cereals in our diet
The healthiest and most harmful cereals in our diet

Rice and buckwheat, pea and millet - all cereals are useful in different ways. The life hacker figured out which of them are the most nutritious and rich in microelements, and which ones are better not to overdo it.

The healthiest and most harmful cereals in our diet
The healthiest and most harmful cereals in our diet

The benefits and harms of porridge

Porridge is an almost ideal side dish and an excellent independent dish, which has a rich set of necessary nutrients, vitamins and trace elements.

The porridge is nourishing, provides the body with energy for long hours and fits well on the stomach. With proper culinary skills and a recipe, any porridge can be made amazing, but even without them, it turns out to be more than an edible thing that is easy to prepare. Any taste flaws are easily compensated by a combination of porridge with meat, milk and other additives.

In some cases, associated with illness, porridge becomes almost the only food that a person can eat. However, everything is good in moderation.

Like other things around us, porridge can be both medicine and poison.

For a long time, eating a single porridge, you are likely to lose health due to extreme inadequacy of the diet. Porridge, even from different cereals, cannot replace all food.

In addition, some types of cereals and legumes contain substances that can have a negative effect on the body. It is very important to know which cereals can be eaten without restrictions and which are not.

From a nutritional point of view, cereals are very far from ideal food. Most cereals are based on cereals (with the exception of peas). There is a lot of starch in cereals. In the body, starch is easily and quickly converted into glucose, which enters the bloodstream. Excess glucose is quickly deposited in fat and is especially dangerous for people with diabetes.

Glycemic index

To indicate the effect of a particular food on blood sugar, scientists have introduced the glycemic index (GI) of food. The lower the GI, the more preferable the product is for the average person. The exception is athletes looking for high GI foods for quick recovery during and after competition.

The glycemic index of pure glucose is 100. In comparison, the GI of all other products is determined.

Glycemic index Status
10–40 Low (useful product)
41–70 Medium (moderate product)
71–100 High (harmful product)

The glycemic index of the same product changes depending on the region, weather conditions during growth, and other indicators. In addition, the GI can increase dramatically with supplementation. For example, milk increases the GI of porridge 3-4 times. The recipe also has an impact.

The figures shown are average, may vary for a specific product and are only valid for cereals without additives.

The best cereals for the glycemic index:

Porridge Glycemic index
Pearl barley 20–30
Pea 20–30
Buckwheat 50–55

The worst cereals on the glycemic index:

Porridge Glycemic index
Rice 50–70
Semolina 65–80
Corn 70–80

Oatmeal and millet porridge with a GI in the range of 40–65 are approximately in the middle of the rating and can be classified as both useful and harmful in terms of GI.

The wide range of GI is explained by the preliminary processing of the product, as well as by the variety of the same cereal. For example, brown and wild rice have a GI of about 50, and the index of white rice, steamed, approaches 70.

Let us dwell separately on semolina. Less processing means more benefits, and semolina is the best proof of this. As a by-product of wheat flour production, this cereal not only has a high GI and is poor in vitamins and minerals, but also interferes with the absorption of vitamin D, iron and calcium. Lack of the latter weakens bone tissue.

More expensive outlandish crops like quinoa have their advantages in terms of chemical composition, but the tangible price difference does not allow us to call these products generally available, and therefore we did not include them in the rating.

Protein and calories

Porridge is a source of not only carbohydrates, plant fibers, fats, vitamins and microelements, but also protein. Vegetable proteins are inferior to animals in terms of amino acid composition and digestibility, but they are still useful and necessary for our body.

Among the crops used in cereals widespread in Russia, there is no protein champion.

On average, 100 g of cereals contains about 10 g of protein.

Pay particular attention to fig. Although this culture is extremely popular, it is inferior to almost all cereals in raw protein content: 7 g of protein per 100 g of pure rice versus 9-11 g per 100 g of cereals of other crops.

There are about 20 grams of protein in 100 grams of peas, which is why peas and other legumes are often referred to as meat substitutes.

When cooking, the mass of the cereal increases greatly due to the water. The calorie content of all ready-made cereals is approximately the same and amounts to 100-140 kcal per 100 g.

Porridge is our strength

Obviously, there is no perfect porridge and cannot be. But now the shops offer us an incredible variety of grains, legumes and other crops. Everyone can compose a set of optimal products for themselves based on the budget, taste preferences, goals and a diet that corresponds to these goals.

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