Whole grains are a food that is a great source of fiber and it is usually recommended that people eat a diet high in this food. Many people do not understand exactly what whole grain is or how it helps. Some of the issues of confusion are going to be addressed here.
Whole Grain Nation says that to be whole grain, “the entire grain seed of wheat, rye, rice, barley, corn or oats” is used including the bran and the germ. When the bran, germ and endosperm of the grain are used together, the health benefits are plentiful.
When a grain is refined, the part that remains is the endosperm. The and some of the germ are removed. With them go fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals.
The bran is the protective outer layer of the grain. It contains fiber, antioxidants, B vitamins, and phytochemicals. Minerals, such as iron copper, zinc and magnesium are also found in this area of the grain.
This part of the grain is located in the middle. It contains carbohydrates, and protein. A little amount of minerals and B vitamins are also found in the endosperm.
The germ is located at the inner part of the grain. This is the seed for a new plant. Whole grains or foods made from them contain all the essential parts and naturally-occurring nutrients of the entire grain seed.
When all three parts of the grain are included, it is considered to be whole grain. Some examples of whole wheat flour is amaranth, brown rice, whole cornmeal, millet, whole wheat and wild rice.
According to the Grain Council, more and more benefits of whole grain are being discovered. It is widely known that whole grain helps the digestive process. However, by eating more whole grain, the possibility of heart disease, cancer and diabetes are reduced. They also “lower triglycerides, improve insulin control, help with weight management and slow the buildup of arterial plaque.”
The Minnesota Department of Health recommends that a person should eat at least three ounces, or three servings of whole grain a day. This means that one serving equals one ounce. To meet this guideline, one serving could be one slice of whole grain bread, one cup of whole grain cereal, one-half a cup of whole grain hot cereal, cooked pasta, rice or other grains. Each of these should be 100 percent whole grain.
With more producers labeling food with the amount of whole grain content it is easier for a consumer to make wise choices. It is important for the consumer to realize that when a food is labeled high in bran, it is not a whole grain product as it has had the rest of the grain removed. To make sure that a product is whole grain, it should list it among the first ingredients on a label.
Some packages may say that a produce is multi-grain, seven grain, 100 percent wheat, bran or cracked wheat, however there may only be a little amount of whole grain. There may be wheat flour that has been enriched in there. If this is listed as the main ingredient, it should be regarded as the same as refined flour.
When looking for a whole wheat product, go beyond the color or the front label. By checking the contents in the package, consumers can be sure of receiving the real thing.