Grains are small dry hard seeds, which are harvested and consumed by both humans and animals alike. In their dried form, these grains, foods like you wheat, rice, oats, corn millet, barley, bulgur, quinoa, fonio, etc are more durable than other food products. For a grain to be considered whole grain, it should contain these three parts:
- The Bran: The bran is the outer covering or the husk of the seed. It is a wonderful fiber source, fiber which is good for treatment and prevention of constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, prevention of colon diseases and some other health conditions. It is also used to make medicine.
- The Germ: The germ is a part of the seed that contains several micronutrients. One of the most popularly consumed is the germ from wheat. Being the part of the grain that develops into a plant, it’s easy to see how wheat germ is the nutrient centre of the grain. It is high in vegetable protein, and contains phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, thiamin, folate. It also contains fiber, healthy fats and vitamin E – which is an antioxidant and good for mental agility.
- The Endosperm: Endospermis a food reserve tissue inside the seeds of most flowering plants. It surrounds the embryo and provides nutrition in the form of starch. It may also contain oils and protein. The endosperm starch supplies glucose to the body, and it is also associated with its rate of digestion and glucose absorption.
However, for the pleasure of being able to have fluffy cakes and melt-in-your mouth-smooth-as-butter pastries and foods, many choose refined flours over whole grains. Refined flours are usually stripped of some or all of the above to achieve the fineness in texture. Consequently, most of the healthy constituents and nutrients are stripped away in the refining process. Medical experts and science prescribe consumption of grains everyday with half of those grains being Whole Grains.
As long as you’re not battling with gluten allergies or any associated health challenges, you can make the deliberate move to cut down on refined flours by stocking up on the whole grain version of your cereals. Your body would thank you for it!