Wondering what are healthy grains for your family? It’s a harder question to answer than you might think.
Milled wheat was the first processed food. Now, growing, harvesting, storing, and packaging wheat and flour is a highly complex process, with each step utilizing chemicals and, as mentioned earlier, irradiation. Wheat growers in the US and in many parts of the world apply Cycocel, a synthetic plant hormone that regulates growth characteristics of the wheat, to their fields. Wheat plants, like many other grain crops, are killed immediately prior to harvest by spraying glyphosate on the field so that the grain can be harvested more easily. Glyphosate is subsequently absorbed by conventional wheat plants. During wheat storage, malathion and pyrethrin are sprayed into the storage bins to protect the crop from moths and other insects. These chemicals have been implicated in toxic health effects, even in low concentrations. If you’re wondering what are healthy grains, know that you can avoid these chemicals by eating organic grains.
Oats and oatmeal have many healthy effects on the body’s cardiovascular system, such as lowering blood pressure and modestly lowering cholesterol levels. Organic and conventional oats and oat-based breakfast cereals and snacks may contain elevated concentrations of the toxin ochratoxin A (OTA), produced by a mold known to grow on oats and other grains. The research on this toxin is not yet complete, but it is suspected that this toxin can cause kidney cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (a branch of the World Health Organization) classifies this toxin as a possible human carcinogen.
Photo by Artur Nasyrov.