Whole Grains

Common Types of
Whole Grains:

  • wild rice
  • brown rice
  • whole wheat
  • oatmeal
  • whole oats
  • barley
  • whole rye
  • bulgar
  • popcorn

Less Common Types of Whole Grains:

  • amaranth
  • millet
  • quinoa
  • sorghum
  • triticale

What is a whole grain?

A whole grain is a grain that still has its outer covering, which is nutritionally rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Did you know that there are many reasons to eat whole grain breads and cereals?

  • They are low in fat.
  • They are good sources of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and protein.
  • They can be fixed and eaten in many ways.

What are Whole Grain Foods?

Whole grain foods contain all three parts of the grain: the bran, the endosperm and germ.

  • The outer bran layer is full of fiber, B vitamins, 50-80 percent of the grain’s minerals, and other health-promoting plant substances called phytochemicals.
  • The large endosperm portion is full of complex carbohydrates, protein, and smaller amounts of B vitamins.
  • The third part is the germ, which is full of B vitamins, vitamin E, trace minerals, and healthful unsaturated fats, phytochemicals and antioxidants.

If all three parts of the grain are present in processed foods, they are considered whole grain. By comparison, refined grain foods contain only the endosperm. When the germ and bran portions are removed during milling, the nutrient content is reduced by 25 to 90 percent.

All types of grain foods are excellent sources of complex carbohydrates. They supply energy for daily activities.

Whole grains are low in fat, and because they are from plants they have no cholesterol.

Whole grains are high in fiber, plant protein, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, antioxidants, resistant starch, phytate and many other healthful substances.

Whole grains provide many of the nutrients that are low in America’s diet, including fiber, B vitamins, vitamin E, and the minerals selenium, zinc, copper and magnesium.

Whole grain foods have up to five times more antioxidant activity than do common vegetables, fruits or white bread. Consuming a wide range of antioxidants is important, since each kind protects a different part of the body against cell damage.

Whole gain cereals have three to seven times more fiber per serving than refined cereals. Whole wheat breads have about four to six times more fiber per slice than white bread.