Grits: Types, Nutrition, Health Benefits

Grits: Types, Nutrition, Health Benefits, and Recipes

Grits is a highly nutritious dish, very popular in the Southern United States. It is prepared from dried, ground corn or maize by using various forms of liquids such as milk, water, and broth. The health benefits of grits consumption are enormous which makes it an ideal diet.

The reason why this dish is so nutritious and healthy because you can mix as its liquid ingredient to any variety of liquid as per your special needs and health condition. For example, you want to avoid milk or broth then you can easily prepare its recipe with water mix without deterioration of its taste and quality.

You need to cook the ground corn or maize into liquids until you get a thicker, creamy porridge-like consistency or texture. Grits are an abundant source of fiber, iron and other vital nutrients.

For enhancing its taste and nutrients value one can easily add some more flavored ingredients such as cheese, butter, syrups, sugar, bacon, catfish, and shrimp. Here we are going to have a detail discussion about the grits nutrient essence, their benefits for human health and some recipe tips.

Types

Grits are found in the following types or varieties:

Hominy

These types of grits are made from the alkali solution soaked corn kernels. It is done in order to soften the tough outer shell or hull known as pericarp.

In order to process this corn kernel first, the pericarp is rinsed and then removed, after that its processing is done to convert into hominy.

Stone-Ground

These types of grits are made from the whole and dried corn kernels, coarsely grounded in the mill. You can hardly find this type of grit in a grocery shop especially because of its short shelf life. The stone-ground grits take 30 to 60 minute time to cook over the stove.

Instant

This is a precooked and dehydrated variety of grits in which the pericarp and germ are already remains removed. It can be prepared instantly which you can easily avail in any grocery store.

Quick and Regular

This is another variety of grits which undergoes the processing that involves the removal of pericarp and germ or the nutrient-rich embryo to make its shelf life longer. Out of these grits, the quick variety of grits is finely grounded and a regular variety of grits is medium ground.

Nutrition

Grits contain many vital nutrients such as iron, B groups of Vitamins and trace amounts of Vitamin E, Calcium, Pantothenic acid, and Potassium.

However regular versions of grits contain only a lesser number of vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin A, C, and calcium with a comparison to stone-ground grits varieties.

This is because the regular versions of grits undergo the many stages of processing that reduces its nutrient value including pericarp and germ.

One cup of cooked, regular grits that is of 257 grams provides the following amount of nutrients.

  • Protein- 4 grams
  • Calories- 182
  • Fat- 1 gram
  • Fiber- 2 grams
  • Carbs- 38 grams
  • Vitamin B6- 7% of the RDI
  • Iron- 8% of the RDI
  • Zinc- 4% of the RDI
  • Magnesium- 5% of the RDI
  • Phosphorus- 4% of the RDI
  • Folate- 2 grams
  • Niacin- 13% of the RDI
  • Thiamine- 18% of the RDI
  • Riboflavin- 12% of the RDI

Benefits

health benefits of gritsThe consumption of grits which is a highly nutritious food offer following health benefits-

Prevents Degenerative Eye Disorders

Grits are the rich source of high-grade antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin which are vital for your eye's health. These important compounds are found in the retina which converts light into signals for your brain to understand and recognize the picture.

So when you eat enough amount of food rich in these eye’s health-friendly antioxidants it reduces your risk of degenerative eye disorders such as Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and Cataracts.

Also, these antioxidants ensure protection for your eyes from harmful blue light’s damages. The blue-wavelength light makes your body understand that it is day time and helps in remaining to awaken by suppressing the release of melatonin a hormone that calms down your body to let it sleep easily and faster.

The excessive exposure to this blue-wavelength light can cause damages to the cornea the outermost layer of your eyes. However, with the consumption of grits on a frequent basis, you can prevent this damage risk.

For natural enhancement and improvement of your eye’s health grits can play an important role with its powerful antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin which are found in retina along with other healthy foods and supplements.

Source of a Variety of Antioxidants

Antioxidants are the most vital and effective substances that protect your cells against free radicals damaging. Hence it is beneficial to protect your overall body organs from the growing risk of different chronic diseases.

The free radicals are the most reactive molecules which can easily interact with your body cells leading to damages to the affected organs. Free radicals attack can even develop certain life-threatening diseases such as certain types of cancers and heart diseases.

As the grits contain many powerful and varieties of antioxidants such as 4-OH benzoic acid, syringic acid, caffeic acid, zeaxanthin, and lutein so it is effective to strengthen your body by ensuring protection against free radicals damages.

Along with protecting your heart health and preventing certain cancer’s growth risk the powerful antioxidant content of grits also give protection to your eye’s health by preventing the risk of degenerative eye disorders. Also, it protects your skin from damages caused by harsh UV rays of the sun

Relieves Anemia Health Issue

Anemia is a chronic health concern in which body muscles and tissues do not receive enough amount of oxygen leading to symptoms like chronic fatigue, breathing shortness and pale skin problem occurs.

Iron deficiency is the most common reason behind the growth and existence of this disease. In the lack of iron, your body becomes incapable of producing hemoglobin an essential substance required for the red blood cells to carry oxygen in different body organs.

Grits are the good natural sources of iron nutrients so it can easily fulfill this scarcity of your body and relieve you from this chronic health condition. Moreover, if you consume this healthy iron-rich food beforehand then it ensures that you won’t develop the anemia related concerns in the future. Hence it helps in preventing iron-deficiency induced anemia in the body.

With only one cup that is of 257 grams grits intake, you can get 8% of the RDI limit.  It is an ideal source of plant-based iron. With daily consumption of grits, you can get enough level of iron in the body that further helps in the production of hemoglobin which ensures easy transportation of oxygen all over the body. Hence helpful in combating the anemia symptoms.

Anemia can also occur in the lack of enough amount of folate in the body. However as the grits are a good source of folate as well, so you can also treat your folate deficiency-induced anemia which offers 25% of RDI limit.

It is Naturally Gluten Free

People who are gluten sensitive or have particular diseases that increase gluten sensitivity in the body and some symptoms thereon find it difficult to eat all kinds of grains which are the good sources of gluten.

However such people can consume grits without any risk or fear of gluten-induced body symptoms as it is naturally gluten-free. Gluten is a kind of protein which is found in grains such as barley, wheat, rye, and spelt.

If people who are suffering from celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity problems will consume such gluten-rich grains will easily get a victim of its adverse side effects such as fatigue, stomach pain, diarrhea, bloating and constipation. So gluten can be considered as a healthy alternative of carb with its natural gluten-free feature or health benefits.

People who have a higher level of gluten sensitivity are advised to read the ingredients label carefully while buying grits because some manufacturers use the same processing methods for preparing it just like other gluten-based food products.

Helps in Diabetes Treatment

One major advantage of consuming grits is that it is healthy for diabetes patients and helps in the treatment of this chronic health issue. Grits have a very low level of Glycemic Index (GI) which is 40.

The glycemic index shows how faster a particular food intake can elevate your blood sugar level. As grits have low GI value so it is considered that it doesn’t spike your blood sugar level much after its consumption.

This is the reason it is considered a healthy diet option for diabetes patients who have to remain very careful about the food verities and quantity that they consume.

Also as it is gluten-free so it is a healthy substitute for carbohydrates rich foods which can easily elevate your blood sugar level after their consumption.

As grits are a good source of fiber nutrient which suppresses your appetite very easily and naturally, so that way it again gets beneficial for diabetes patients to keep their sugar level in check.

Aid in Weight Loss

With a high amount of fiber value that is 5.4 grams, grits are healthy for the consumption of people who are trying hard to lose bodyweight. Fiber takes extra time to digest in your body hence it works as a natural suppressant of your frequent appetite or cravings problem. The fiber value in grits is much higher than any other fiber-rich diet source such as oatmeal etc. hence it makes it an ideal food for promoting faster weight loss.

Also, it helps in relieving digestive health-related issues like constipation, gas, etc. Grits are the good sources of leucine which is a vital amino acid that promotes the healing of damaged muscles by promoting the growth of skin cells or bone tissues. Also, it provides muscular energy by storing enough amount of glucose in the body.

Recipes

Healthy Grits Recipe # 1

For preparing this healthy grit recipe at home you need very few and easily available ingredients and very little effort and your time.

Ingredients

  • one cup of instant cooking grits
  • 1 ¼ cup of milk
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 cups of water

Process

  • For preparing this recipe first you need to take a small pot and add water, milk, and salt in it to boil them. Stir them well so that all the ingredients mixed well.
  • Once the mixture gets boiled cover the pot with a lid and reduces the flame to lower temperature. Let it cook for 30 minutes. Stir the mixture occasionally.
  • Mix half of the butter in the end and stir it well. Once the mixture gets a smoother consistency, remove it from flame and serve it on your plate.
  • Serve this prepared grits with remaining butter or any other topping like chopped walnuts, almonds, blueberries, mashed bananas, etc.

Healthy Grits Recipe # 2

For preparing this healthy grit recipe at home you need very few and easily available ingredients and very little effort and your time.

Ingredients

  • 120 gram of grits
  • 120 to 150 ml of water
  • 230 to 250 ml of milk
  • 20 ml of honey
  • 7-gram unsalted butter
  • 30 gram fresh berries
  • Salt as per taste

Process

  • For preparing this recipe first you need to take one small pot and then add grits, milk, water, and salt in it and let it boil.
  • Mix honey and butter into the mixture.
  • Cook this mixture for 20 to 30 minutes at medium flame until the mixture takes a thicker consistency.
  • Once it reaches the required level of consistency remove it from flame and serve it on your plate.
  • Add toppings like berries, pumpkin seeds or any other fruits or nuts to enhance its taste and nutrient value.

Prepare this easy recipe at any time of the day to avail those versatile health benefits of grits and ensure good health of yours as well as your family members. It can be a healthy and easy breakfast meal to keep you energized for the whole day along with suppressing your frequent cravings issue. Also, you have a good option to add more fresh and nutritious veggies and fruits and replace butter with more healthy oils to make your recipe much healthier.

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