Boosting Life Choices: Bran

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Quinoa Bran Pilaf

Quinoa Bran Pilaf with Raisins and Simple Green Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup quinoa, washed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup bran cereal
  • 2 cups chopped romaine lettuce leaves
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:

In a large saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Add the quinoa, cover, and simmer 15 minutes, or until cooked through.

In a large sauté pan, warm 1 tablespoon of olive oil until shimmering. Add the onions, garlic, curry powder, and cinnamon. Stir and cook until the onions are soft and start to brown. Stir in the raisins. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 1 more minute. Turn off the heat. Add the cooked quinoa to the onions. Add the cereal, crushing lightly in your hands. Stir well.

To make the salad dressing: Whisk together the lemon juice and brown sugar. Whisk in the olive oil. Season the dressing with salt, and pepper, to taste. Toss the romaine leaves with the dressing to coat evenly.

Serve with the pilaf warm with the salad on the side.

Boosting Life Choices: Bran

Full of fiber. The bran news is good. All types of bran are wonderful sources of both insoluble and soluble fiber. And each type of fiber has potent health-promoting strengths.

Bran, also known as miller’s bran, is the hard outer layers of cereal grain. It consists of the combined aleurone and pericarp. Along with germ, it is an integral part of whole grains, and is often produced as a by-product of milling in the production of refined grains. When bran is removed from grains, the grains lose a portion of their nutritional value. Bran is present in and may be milled from any cereal grain, including rice, corn (maize), wheat, oats, barley and millet. Bran should not be confused with chaff, which is coarser scaly material surrounding the grain, but not forming part of the grain itself.

Insoluble fiber, the kind prominent in wheat bran, bulks up stool and speeds it through the colon. Experts theorize that cancer-causing agents are swept quickly away with the stool. It’s also this bulking action that may help relieve constipation, hemorrhoids, and diverticular disease.

In addition, at least one study has shown that adding wheat bran to the diet may shrink precancerous polyps in the lower intestine, reducing the risk of colon and rectal cancers.

Soluble fiber—found in outstanding quantities in oat, corn, and rice brans and soy fiber—is the hero when it comes to lowering cholesterol. Oat bran has gotten the most notice on this front, with numerous studies by Dr. James Anderson, a leading fiber researcher, and others showing impressive cholesterol-busting results. Likewise, studies with rice and corn brans indicate they have a similar effect on cholesterol.

Soy fiber may improve glucose tolerance and insulin response in people with adult-onset (type II) diabetes. And it seems to keep the bowels working at good speed, as wheat bran does. Another product, apple fiber, contains even more fiber than oat bran and may also be valuable for lowering cholesterol.

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