All about whole grains
What are whole grains?
A whole grain is a cereal grain that contains all three original layers – the bran, germ and endosperm.
The bran is the multi-layered outer skin of the grain. It is rich in fibre, antioxidants, B vitamins and minerals.
The germ is the embryo of the grain, which provides the genetic material for the potential new plant. It is rich in essential fatty acids, antioxidants, B vitamins and protein.
The endosperm is the largest part of the kernel and is the food supply for the plant. It contains carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals.
What is the difference between a refined grain and a whole grain?
A refined grain is not in its whole form, as it is missing some of the three layers. When these layers are removed, it also removes much of the fibre, vitamins and minerals.
What are the benefits of whole grains?
Whole grains may be effective in reducing the risk of chronic disease including:
· Heart disease
· Some cancers
Whole grains are a rich source of fibre, which may help to:
· Improve blood sugar control
· Reduce cholesterol levels
· Keep you feeling satisfied and fuller for longer
· Manage weight
How much whole grains do you need need?
In general, a healthy adult needs around 48g of whole grains every day.
How can you meet your whole grains requirements?
There are many foods that are considered whole grains including brown rice; buckwheat; barley; millet; quinoa; rolled oats; whole grain cous cous, pasta, bread, cereals and crackers; and whole meal flour.
To reach the required 48g, it is suggested that you include any three of the following whole grain serves every day:
· 1/4 cup whole grain cereal
· 1 breakfast biscuit
· 1 slice of whole grain bread
· 1/4 cup cooked whole grains
· 4 whole grain crackers
· 1/3 cup popcorn
How can you boost your intake of whole grains?
Small changes and simple swaps are useful in boosting the whole grains in your day. My top tips include:
· Swap white rice for brown rice.
· Swap white bread for whole meal or whole grain bread.
· Choose whole grain varieties when cooking with pasta, cous cous and rice.
· Include whole grain snacks such as popcorn or whole grain crackers.
· Start your day with a whole grain breakfast such as rolled oats or whole grain cereal.
· Experiment with whole grains such as barley, buckwheat, quinoa and millet.
· When cooking, swap white flour for whole meal flour.