Whole grains refers to grains composed of all of the original components that were present when it was grown in the field. Refined grains, on the other hand, have had some components removed to give them better texture and longer shelf life.
These refined grains are used more often and find their way into our diets more often. However, recent studies suggest that it’s best to skip refined grains altogether in favor of whole grain alternatives.
parts of a grain
Grain begins life as the seed of a plant. It consists of an edible core surrounded by an inedible shell that protects it from the dangers of nature. The kernel itself consists of three parts:
- The bran is the outer skin of the kernel. It is high in fiber and B vitamins, as well as protein and starch.
- The germ is the part of the nucleus that is the embryo of the seed. It is rich in vitamin B and vitamin E, as well as fat and protein.
- The remaining part, the endosperm, is the part of the seed that provides energy for the germ. It increases safe storage time but has little to offer nutritionally.
For refined grain, the bran and germ were mechanically removed. The main reason is that they last longer before spoiling. None of the components are particularly resilient, so removing them creates a product that will stay on shelves much longer. Refined grains also have a finer texture, which some people find preferable.
Many of the health benefits of cereal grains are removed during the refining process. Without germ and bran, grains do little more than provide energy for us. Studies show that sticking to whole grains can reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke.
Another type of grain available in the market is fortified grain. Several nutrients such as iron and riboflavin have been added to these grains to restore some of the nutritional value lost during the refining process. Although fortified grains are healthier than other refined grains, they are nowhere near as beneficial as their whole grain alternatives.
Looking for ways to add more whole grains to your diet? Next time you’re shopping, consider choosing whole grain breads, rice, and pasta over the fortified or refined alternative.
When shopping for whole grains, it’s important to check the nutritional information and go through the ingredients. Even if the label says multi-grain or something similar, it must not be made from whole grain.
Always make sure “whole grain” or “whole grain” is among the first items to appear on the ingredients list. This way you can be sure that these products will provide you with the nutrients you need for a healthy diet. There truly is no better time to add the versatility of grains to your meal plan!
Thanks to Perzina E Munroe