Grains are small, hard, dry seeds that come from plants called cereals. Some examples of common grains include wheat, rice, corn, oats, barley, quinoa, and rye. Grains are also a valuable source of nutrients, including carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, and minerals.
In Nigeria, some of the most commonly consumed grains include corn, millet, rice, and sorghum. These grains are used to make a variety of traditional dishes, such as fufu, eba, jollof rice, and porridge.
In addition, Grains also play a significant role in the Nigerian economy as they are important crops that are grown and sold by farmers. The government also sees it as a way to reduce the dependence on import and it is also used as a means of boosting the agricultural sector and creating jobs.
In this article, we will be discussing the 7 healthiest whole grain foods in Nigeria.
7 Healthiest Whole Grain Foods in Nigeria
Millet is a versatile whole grain that is commonly consumed in Nigeria, particularly in the northern region. It is used in the preparation of traditional dishes such as fura, which is made into balls and eaten with nono, a local yogurt. Additionally, millet is also used to make pap and other cereals.
The grain can also be made into a drink called kunu zaki, or it can be cooked and consumed similarly to rice. Millet is gluten-free and contains essential nutrients like magnesium, potassium, and zinc. Consuming millet can help regulate blood sugar levels and reduce inflammation in the body.
Oats are considered one of the healthiest grains available, they are gluten-free, whole grain and a great source of essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Studies have shown that consuming oats and oatmeal can have many benefits such as weight loss, lower blood sugar levels, and a reduced risk of heart disease. Oats are also a good source of fiber, which is beneficial for digestive health. If you have chronic constipation issues, incorporating oats into your diet can help to alleviate the symptoms. One cup of oats contains four grams of fiber, and you can also add fruits and nuts to increase the fiber content of your breakfast.
3. Guinea corn
Guinea corn is another superfood that is rich in micronutrients such as vitamins B, copper, iron, potassium, magnesium, etc. It not only has many health benefits for adults but also for babies. It is commonly consumed in Nigeria and throughout the world, particularly in arid terrains because of its resistance to drought. Guinea corn is a nutrient-rich grain that is often ground into flour and is used to make bread, porridge, and pancakes.
Corn is a widely loved whole grain food that is enjoyed in many ways in Nigeria, including boiling, roasting, and many other ways people choose to have it. It is a great treat to have and the fact that it is a whole grain food makes it even more nutritious.
The sweet corn or yellow corn is especially rich in nutrients and minerals, making it a great addition to any diet.
Popcorn is a beloved snack in Nigeria and also one of the most widely consumed whole grain foods in the country. Popcorn is made from whole grains, specifically popcorn kernels that are dried to the perfect moisture level for popping.
Popcorn is an excellent source of fiber, as well as other essential minerals and vitamins such as manganese, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, zinc, and B vitamins. However, it is recommended to avoid buying pre-packaged microwave bags of popcorn, as they may contain harmful chemicals.
6. Nigerian local rice
Processed rice can be a convenient option, but it may not be as nutritious as whole-grain rice. Brown rice is a healthier alternative as it contains more fiber and other essential nutrients like antioxidants, protein, vitamins, and minerals.
Whole-grain rice varieties retain the bran and germ, providing more nutrition compared to white rice. Eating whole-grain rice can offer many health benefits, such as reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. One popular whole-grain rice type in Nigeria is Ofada Rice.
7. Whole Wheat Flour
Whole-wheat flour is made by grounding the entire wheat grain, including the bran, germ, and endosperm. It is commonly used in making breads and other baked goods.
Compared to white flour, whole wheat flour is a healthier option as it is rich in fiber, and other essential nutrients that are found in the bran and germ parts of the wheat grain. Whole wheat products are considered whole grain and are a great source of fiber, which is beneficial for digestion and overall health.