A whole grain is known as wholegrain. It is a grain of any cereal or pseudo cereal which contains germ, endosperm and bran. This is in contrast to refined grains that contain only endosperm. Wholegrain is important as part of a healthy diet. Eating wholegrain lowers, the risk of several diseases.
All types of grains are good sources of complex carbohydrates and a few key vitamins and minerals. The healthiest kinds of grains are very important part of a balanced diet.
Grains are naturally high in fibre. Fibre helps you feel full and satisfied. This makes it easier to maintain a healthy body weight. Whole grains are also linked to a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers and other health challenges.
Grains and whole grains are the seeds of grasses cultivated for food. Whole grains and grains come in many shapes and sizes. They form large kernels of popcorn to small quinoa seeds.
Whole grains are either present in their whole form or ground into a flour while retaining all parts of the seed. These include bran, germ and endosperm. In comparison with other types of grains whole grains are better sources of fibre and other important nutrients. Whole grains contain B vitamins, iron, folate, selenium, potassium and magnesium. Whole grains are either single foods, like brown rice or popcorn, or it may be ingredients in products, like buckwheat in pancakes or whole-wheat flour in bread.
Refined grains are milled to have had the germ and bran removed. This gives them a finer texture and extends their shelf life. Hence, the refining process removes many nutrients, including fibre. Refined grains include white flour, white rice and white bread. Most types of breads, cereals, crackers, desserts and pastries are made with refined grains.
Enriched grains mean that a few of the nutrients lost during processing are replaced. The enriched grains have replaced the B vitamins lost during milling. Fortifying means adding in nutrients that do not occur naturally in the food. Therefore, most refined grains are enriched, and many enriched grains also are fortified with other vitamins and minerals. These may include folic acid and iron. Whole grains may or may not be fortified.
It is always good to make at least half the grains in your diet whole grains. You can find whole-grain versions of rice, bread, cereal, flour and pasta at many grocery stores. Furthermore, many whole-grain foods, including a variety of breads, pastas and cereals, are ready to eat.
Examples of wholegrain are barley, buckwheat, brown rice, cracked wheat, millet, oatmeal, popcorn and whole wheat bread, pasta or crackers.
However, it is not always easy to tell which type of grains a product has, especially bread. For example, a brown bread may not necessarily have whole wheat. The brown hue may come from added colouring. Therefore, if you are not sure something has whole grains, check the product label. The nutrition facts panel on the package may have appropriate information.
Vegetables, fruits, bread, pasta, grains, cereal products, dried beans, peas and lentils are good source of carbohydrates. Many of these foods are also good source of fibre. Your digestive system needs fibre to stay healthy. Sugar, honey and molasses are also carbohydrates. However, these carbohydrates are high in calories and do not offer any other benefits. Whole grains, fruit and vegetables are healthier sources of carbohydrates than refined sugars and grains.
If all the grains you eat are whole grains, you may need to be alerted to take extra care to consume sufficient folic acid, a B vitamin. While many refined-grain products are fortified, the whole grains are not typically fortified with folic acid.
Consuming a variety of whole grains may ensure that you get more health-promoting nutrients. However, it also helps make your meals and snacks more interesting.