What are grains?
Grains are cereals such wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley which are component of pasta, bread etc. They are foundation of a good diet. A whole grain is the entire edible part of any grain, whether it is wheat, oats, corn, rice, or a more exotic grain. The three layers of a grain kernel each supply important nutrients:
Structure of Grain
The bran, the endosperm and the germ.
- The bran or outer protective coating is filled with fiber, antioxidants, B vitamins, protein, and trace minerals e.g copper, iron, magnesium, zinc.
- The endosperm supplies mostly carbohydrate, protein and some B vitamins.
- The germ is rich in B vitamins, vitamin E, trace minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients.
When whole grains are refined, the bran and the germ portions are removed, leaving only the endosperm. Unfortunately, more than half the fiber and almost three-quarters of the vitamins and minerals are in the bran and germ. These nutrients are lost, thus reducing the nutritional values of the grains.
Some whole grains are: Barley, Brown Rice, Buckwheat, Corn (& Popcorn), Millet, Quinoa, Rye etc.
Healthy nutrition practice always quickly repairs or replaces inadequacies in the body system which will form part of an alternative treatment against illnesses.
A diet rich in whole-grain foods is associated with lower risk and treatment for several chronic diseases and conditions including heart disease, cancer, diabetes and gastrointestinal troubles.
Smart Grain Decisions
When choosing among grain products follow these tips to get the most fiber- and nutrient-filled forms that help to increase resistance against diseases.
- Breakfast cereals: Look for “whole grain” on the front of the package. The words “whole grain” or “whole” appear in front of wheat, oats, rice, corn, barley or another grain as the first ingredient. Hint: Oats are always whole, even if they’re rolled, instant, fine-cut, or coarse-cut.
- Breads and crackers: Look for “whole wheat” or “whole grain” in the product’s name. Whole-grain flour such as whole-wheat flour should be the first ingredient listed. Wheat flour, enriched flour and de-germinated cornmeal are not whole grains.
- Pasta and rice: Only brown rice is whole grain. Look for pasta made from whole-wheat flour.