Ingredients and Uses

4 Nutritional Benefits Of Grits + How To Prepare Grits

by
4 Nutritional Benefits Of Grits + How To Prepare Grits Hyderabd040-395603080 July 31, 2019

Grits are widely popular in the southern part of the United States. They taste like tofu, but more often, they soak up the flavor of the food they are mixed with.

They are made of dried and ground corn that is cooked in water or broth and blended until it reaches a thick and creamy consistency.

Grits are replete with various nutrients and are particularly rich in fiber and iron (1). Research is being done on their benefits and the ways they can impact human health.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Grits?

Grits have a low glycemic index, making them a good option for a diabetes diet. They are a rich source of iron too. The lutein and zeaxanthin they contain promote eye health. Their lack of gluten makes them an ideal alternative for people with celiac disease.

1. May Aid Diabetes Treatment

Grits have a low glycemic index (GI) of 40 (2). GI tells how fast a particular food can elevate blood sugar levels when consumed. They have a GI of 40. Hence, they can be included in a diabetes-friendly diet.

They could be a good replacement for other carbohydrates that may elevate blood sugar levels.

High-quality corn grits were also found to be beneficial to patients dealing with diabetes (3). The dietary fiber in grits could be responsible for this.

2. May Help Boost Vision Health

May Help Boost Vision Health Pinit

Shutterstock

Foods made of corn were found to be rich in lutein and zeaxanthin (4). These two are powerful antioxidants that are found in the retina (5). Studies show that they can prevent major vision ailments, including age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.

Antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin could be safe treatment options for cataracts. Along with a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, research encourages supplementation in this regard (5).

3. May Help In Treating Anemia

Grits are a good source of iron (1). Hence, consuming them may help in treating anemia, which is often caused due to a deficiency of iron.

Adequate iron is important for the production of hemoglobin – a substance that helps red blood cells transport oxygen throughout the body (6).

4. Are Gluten-Free

One major advantage of grits is that they are gluten-free. Grits belong to the same family as wheat, barley, rye, and spelt. But if you are gluten intolerant or have celiac disease, you can replace the problem foods in your diet with grits.

These are a few major benefits of corn grits. As more research unfolds, we will have more information on how this food can help better your health.

We saw a couple of important nutrients in grits. But there is a whole range of other nutrients that you may want to look at.

What Is The Nutritional Profile* Of Grits?

Nutrient1 CUP = 168.0g1 VALUE PER 100 g
Energy640kcal381
Protein15.99g9.52
Total lipid (fat)2g1.91
Carbohydrate, by difference124g73.81
Fiber, total dietary8.1g4.8
Iron, Fe4.32mg2.57
Calorie Information
Amounts Per Selected Serving%DV
Calories143(599 kJ)7%
From Carbohydrate127(532 kJ)
From Fat3.8(15.9 kJ)
From Protein11.9(49.8 kJ)
From Alcohol0.0(0.0 kJ)
Carbohydrates
Amounts Per Selected Serving%DV
Total Carbohydrate31.1g10%
Dietary Fiber0.7g3%
Starch~
Sugars0.2g
Protein & Amino Acids
Amounts Per Selected Serving%DV
Protein3.4g7%
Vitamins
Amounts Per Selected Serving%DV
Vitamin A75.0IU2%
Vitamin C0.0mg0%
Vitamin D~~
Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol)0.0mg0%
Vitamin K0.0mcg0%
Thiamin0.2mg13%
Riboflavin0.1mg8%
Niacin1.7mg9%
Vitamin B60.1mg3%
Folate79.9mcg20%
Vitamin B120.0mcg0%
Pantothenic Acid0.2mg2%
Choline~
Betaine~
Minerals
Amounts Per Selected Serving%DV
Calcium7.3mg1%
Iron1.5mg8%
Magnesium12.1mg3%
Phosphorus26.6mg3%
Potassium50.8mg1%
Sodium4.8mg0%
Zinc0.2mg1%
Copper0.0mg2%
Manganese0.0mg2%
Selenium6.5mcg9%
Fluoride

Values sourced from USDA, grits

Looking at this nutritional profile, it is no wonder that grits would make for a healthy breakfast or dinner. But how do you make them?

How To Prepare Grits At Home

Preparing grits at home is simple. You need the following ingredients:

  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 ¼ cups of milk
  • ½ cup of butter
  • 1 cup of quick cooking grits
Directions
  1. In a small pot, bring the water, salt, and milk to a boil. Stir them to a boiling mixture, continuously, until they are well mixed.
  2. As the mixture comes to a boil, cover it with a lid and lower the temperature. Cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in half of the butter. Once the grits achieve a smooth consistency, you know they are done. You can serve with the remaining butter.

You can have grits as they are or try out different variations. You may mix a mashed banana into your grits and top it all with chopped walnuts. Or you may add a handful of blueberries and chopped almonds to your grits.

You can also purchase grits, either at your nearest supermarket or online.

Though grits are healthy and preparing them is simple, there is something else about them you need to keep in mind.

Do Grits Have Any Side Effects?

Grits do not have any serious side effects. But they have certain disadvantages.

They are made by a process that removes the outer skin (called pericarp) and the embryo (the germ), leaving behind the endosperm, which is the starchy component (7).

The outer skin and the embryo are loaded with nutrients. The outer skin is also a good source of fiber.

Also, since grits are served along with ingredients like milk, butter, and syrups, which are high in calories, excess intake can lead to obesity in the long run.

Using more of vegetables, fruits, and extra virgin olive oil, and less of cheese or butter can be a healthier way of eating grits.

Conclusion

Grits are fast becoming popular as a healthful breakfast option. They are rich in iron and fiber. However, you need to choose what ingredients you have it with. Try more of veggies and fruits and replace butter with healthy oils.

Have you had grits before? How did you like the dish? Do share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment in the box below.

Frequently Asked Questions

How are grits different from polenta?

While grits belong to South American cuisine, polenta belongs to Italy. Grits are made of white corn, and polenta is made from yellow corn. Both are made from ground corn, though.

References

  1. Grits” Food Products Database, United States Department of Agriculture.
  2. GI Foods Advanced Search” The University of Sydney.
  3. Glycaemic Response to Quality Protein Maize Grits” Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  4. Processed and prepared corn products as sources of lutein and zeaxanthin: compositional variation in the food chain.” Journal of Food Science, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  5. The Effect of Lutein on Eye and Extra-Eye Health” Nutrients, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  6. Physiology and Pathophysiology of Iron in Hemoglobin-Associated Diseases” Free Radical Biology & Medicine, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  7. Effects of Different Processing Methods on the Micronutrient and Phytochemical Contents of Maize: From A to Z” Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, Wiley Online Library.

Recommended Articles