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♬ original sound – 🥭Fruits & leaves🍃
One of the latest dieting trends that zips around TikTok is called natural grains, originally shared by user @natures_food and since popularized by millions of users (including the only Lizzo). The recipe is simple: you pour coconut water over pomegranate seeds and berries, add ice cubes ala Lizzo if you want extra refreshment, and eat it with a spoon like cereal.
That sounds pretty nutritious to us, and Ariana Fiorita, a registered dietitian at the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine, agreed. Let’s break down why and what potential disadvantages this breakfast-y-snack also has.
Health benefits of natural grains
- Berries and pomegranate seeds are full of healthy nutrients. “Berries and pomegranates contain antioxidants, various phytonutrients, fiber and nutrients such as potassium and vitamin C,” said Fiorita POPSUGAR. In addition, berries have anti-inflammatory properties (inflammation is linked to conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease) and also support “the body’s natural detoxification system,” she said.
- These fruits have low glycemic index. The berries in natural grains are less likely to cause blood sugar, Fiorita said, which can help you lower your cholesterol and prevent you from getting hungry soon after eating. Foods with a low GI are especially good choices for people with insulin resistance or diabetes, Fiorita added.
- Coconut water contains electrolytes. Natural coconut water is full of electrolytes like potassium, sodium, magnesium and phosphorus, Fiorita said. “It can be beneficial to refill fluids after extensive sweat loss”, as well as after a hard workout or a long time in the sun, as well as prevent muscle cramps. Potassium also helps lower blood sugar. And while many sports drinks can help you replenish electrolytes, natural coconut water has fewer added sugars and artificial ingredients.
- Natural grains can help with digestion. The creator of this TikTok trend said that natural grains helped his digestion, and Fiorita confirmed that this may be a benefit. “Digestion is driven by adequate fiber and fluid intake,” she explained. “Berries contain fiber, which can promote the growth of good bacteria in the gut and support overall mobility.” Coconut water, meanwhile, has the water content and electrolytes to moisturize you plus magnesium to “help with muscle relaxation and contraction,” Fiorita explained.
Potential disadvantages of natural grains
As nutritious as natural grains are, Fiorita said there are a few things you should know before making it your new daily breakfast.
- Coconut water is high in natural sugar. If you are diabetic or follow a low carb, low sugar ketogenic diet, note that the natural sugar in coconut water “can add up,” Fiorita said. A cup of coconut water without added sugar can still contain 11 to 12 grams of natural sugar.
- If you have kidney problems, be careful not to overdo potassium. This high-potassium breakfast may not be a good choice for those with kidney problems, Fiorita said. This is because part of the job of the kidney is to filter potassium out of the blood when there is too much of it. When your kidneys are unable to do so, it can lead to hyperkalemia (high levels of potassium in the blood), which can cause symptoms such as muscle weakness, nausea, numbness. Sudden and severe cases can be life-threatening.
- In itself, natural grains are not a balanced meal. While nutritious, natural grains may not fill you up all morning, Fiorita said, because it lacks the key macronutrients of fat and protein. Try rounding off the meal with a protein smoothie, egg, tofu or avocado toast.