Tuesday, February 19, 2013

What Makes a Whole Grain Whole?

 What Makes a Whole Grain Whole?

We’ve heard that whole grains are better for us than refined, but what exactly makes a whole grain whole? While all grains begin whole, various ways of processing can change their seed. With three key parts and a protective husk, a whole grain is healthier than its refined counterpart. 100% of the original kernel must be present for a grain to qualify as whole.
The Germ
The germ is the inner part of the seed; it contains lots of vitamins and minerals, as well as some protein and healthy fats.
The Endosperm
This is the germ’s food supply; it has starchy carbohydrates, proteins, and some vitamins and minerals.
The Bran
The bran is the outside layer of the seed; it has good antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber.
Why Whole Grains?
Refining a grain generally removes the germ and the bran, losing about 25% of the grain’s protein and at least 17 essential nutrients. Some processes include adding vitamins back into the grain once it’s refined, but whole grains are healthier.
What are Whole Grains?
Whole grains include all three parts of the kernel, or seed, and can take on a variety of types; barley, corn, rye, and wheat are all whole grains, and others. Therefore, whole wheat is a type of whole grain.
Benefits of Whole Grains
Consuming whole grains instead of refined lowers the risk of various diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, and reduce the risk of stroke. Other studies have shown a reduced risk of asthma and gum disease.
Source: Whole Grains Council

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