Antioxidants can reduce your child's risk of childhood diseases, including asthma, allergies, and cancer.
You can dramatically increase the antioxidant level of your child's diet by making one tiny change -- using high antioxidant grains!
Imagine Jason, a well-meaning parent who gives his daughter Ava a cheese sandwich made with white bread. Now imagine Greg, another parent who makes one small change: he gives his son Dylan the same cheese sandwich using whole wheat and buckwheat bread.
Believe it or not, Dylan ate a lunch that was seven times higher in antioxidants than Ava! Dylan is getting as many antioxidants in that one meal as Ava is getting in two days of refined, processed foods!
Whole Grains Are Higher in Antioxidants
Whole grains are always higher in antioxidants than their refined cousins. Whole wheat flour is three times as high as white flour. Brown rice is five times as high as white rice. Giving your child whole grains can make a huge difference in the antioxidant level of her diet.
Switching to Whole Grains is Easy
Making the switch to whole grains is very easy. Amazingly, researchers have found that children often don't even notice when whole grains are served instead of refined grains! And they often rate the whole grain products as just as tasty as the refined grain products!
One of the easiest things you can do to increase the antioxidant level of your child's diet is to switch to whole grains.
Some Whole Grains Are Higher In Antioxidants Than Others
In addition to switching to whole grains, you can make a big difference in the antioxidant level of your child's diet by using high-antioxidant whole grains. Some grains are naturally much higher in antioxidants than others.
Here are some antioxidant levels in whole grains:
As you can see, buckwheat is a super source of antioxidants. Try to fit some buckwheat into your child's diet, in the form of pancakes, muffins, or noodles. You can buy buckwheat flour at a health food store and buckwheat noodles at an Asian grocery store. You can substitute a quarter or so of wheat flour with buckwheat flour in most recipes.
Quinoa and amaranth are also very high in antioxidants.
Some Strains of Grains Are Higher In Antioxidants Than Others
Grains can have different strains. A strain is a different type of grain, like breeds of dogs are different types of dogs.
There can be a huge difference in the antioxidant levels of different strains of grains.
In general, you can remember this rule: The darker the color, the higher the antioxidants.
Black rice is higher in antioxidants than brown rice.
Red wheat is higher in antioxidants than white wheat.
Some dark-colored grains, like black rice or black and red sorghum are as high in antioxidants as blueberries!
One Small Change for Mom, One Huge Difference For the Kids!
Switching to high-antioxidant whole grains is an easy change to make. You probably already make many dishes with grains -- muffins, pancakes, rice. Simply grab a box of black rice instead of white rice, or a bag of buckwheat flour instead of white flour.
If you give your child high-antioxidant whole grains early in her life, she will probably like them for the rest of her life. The food your child eats when she is young will be the food that she likes when she is an adult.
You are helping your child's health now by feeding her high-antioxidant grains. But you are also helping her health thirty years from now when she is an adult, on her own.
If you want to use buckwheat flour, you can add up to 1/3 of it as a substitute for whole wheat flour and still get good results in most dishes. Remember that buckwheat has no gluten, so it won't rise as high in yeasted breads. It works better in pancakes and muffins, which are made with baking powder.
Whole grain rice takes twice as long to cook as white rice. However, if you soak the whole grain rice for a few hours (or overnight), the cooking time will be the same as refined white rice.
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Whole Grains Council
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