Whole Grains

WHOLE GRAINS

Whole grains are made from cereal grains that include the complete kernel. These edible seeds are only whole if they include all the original parts- the bran, germ, and endosperm. The germ contains the embryo which has the potential to form into a new plant and contains a variety vitamins (B+ E), minerals, proteins and healthy fats. Endosperms are packed with proteins and carbohydrates and is the largest portion of the kernel. This crucial food store supplies nutrients to the germ allowing the plant to grow roots for water and sprouts for sunlight. This will initiate photosynthesis and the plant can start growing. These two components are enveloped within a multi-layered outer skin called the bran which is rich in vitamins, minerals, phytonutients and fibre.

Grains that are not whole are referred to the term “Refined grain”. These grains are missing one or more of their three key parts (bran, germ, or endosperm). This method is known to  eliminate more than a quarter of the protein content and more than half of its nutrient content in a grain.  This does not include whole grains that have been cracked, crushed, rolled, extruded or rolled. These processes should deliver the same rich balance of nutrients that are found in the original unaffected grain seed.  Since the late 1800, most grains around the world have been produced a s refined due to newly invented milling technology. Separating the bran and germ from endosperms allowed for a increasing shelf without spoiling. This cheap and easy method quickly led to widespread nutritional problems such as vitamin B deficiency causing diseases such as pelagra and beri-beri. However, whole cereal grains which are consumed have been shown to protect from tricker trouble , diabetes , colon cancer, and possibly asthma and Alzheimer's  disease.

True and minor cereal grains are the edible seeds of specific grasses belonging to the Poaceae (also known as Gramineae) family. Wheat, oats, rice, corn, barley, sorghum, rye and miller all belong in this botanical group.  However, the ''pseudo-cereal'' group does not belong to the Poaceae botanical family but contains similar amount of nutritional value. Many of these are seeds from a number of different plant species and are prepared and used in similar ways. Their structure makes it easier for the manufacture of a range of niche breads, pasta, rice, cous cous, breakfast cereals and snack bars.

Whole grains are a great source of carbohydrates, multiple vitamins and minerals and dietary fiber bundled with rich flavour. Their superior nutritional content  are recommended for children and adults in several daily servings allowing for a wide spectrum of nutrient intake. These seeds are packed full of thiamine, riboflavin and niacin which aids in metabolism and folate which helps the body form red blood cells preventing birth defects in babies. Other vitamins such as calcium and vitamin C are not as abundant as vitamin B but adds to the daily nutritional value, strengthens bones and the immune system. Along with these vitamins, iron, magnesium, selenium and zinc are great minerals to stay healthy by preventing anaemia by transporting oxygen throughout the body, building bones, protecting against oxidation and keeping the immune system in fighting spirit.

Fiber, antioxidants and various phytochemicals may prevent carcinogen formation by blocking DNA damage, suppressing the growth of cancer cells by antioxidant protection. Antioxidants found in oats suppress molecules that make blood cells stick to artery walls which cuts cholesterol, inflammation, plaque deposit build up and narrowing of the passageways allowing easy and healthy blood flow. As components of breakfast cereals, whole grains are associated with improved micronutrient intake and lower risk of several diseases such as gastrointestinal, stomach and colon cancers, along with cancers of the oral cavity, pharynx, esophagus, and larynx.

Whole grains supply the body with a high dietary fiber content, promotes ''good bacteria'' and are digested more slowly which helps control blood sugar levels, lower LDL, builds immune system and helps you feel fuller for longer. The beneficial lowering effect on blood sugar and insulin lower risk of several diseases such as coronary heart diseasestrokecancer and type 2 diabetes, with lower all-cause mortality. Other digestive benefits include regular bowel movement, reduce inflammation, weight control, constipation, diarrhoea and pain which helps ward off diverticulosis.

 Unfortunately most grains do not contain ''complete proteins''  due to deficiency in the essential amino acids, mainly lysine. Therefore it's important to eat a range of foods e.g. legumes to compensate for the missing amino acid. Quinoa and amaranth are the most nutritious grains due to their high content and quality of proteins, with high levels of lysine and other essential amino acids. Minor cereals and pseudocereals are a good alternative to replace gluten-containing cereals, for people who need to follow a gluten-free diet.