Whole Grains are Cereal Grains which contain the bran, germ and endosperm (the 3 essential parts of the entire grain). These grains may be cracked, crushed, rolled or flattened. Whole grains are a good source of protein and fiber and are healthier than Refined Grains. Refined grains only contain the endosperm and hence lose out essential nutrients. Whole Grains can help reduce the risk of diabetes, lowers LDL cholesterol, helps maintain body weight. Whole Grain Flours are made by grinding Whole Grains. Whole grains can be sprouted for increased nutrients.
Always remember that Whole Grains are better when they are in their unprocessed form like Wheat Kernels, Quinoa Grains and so on. Processed Whole Grains in the form of Bread, Pasta, Crackers etc. should be consumed in moderation.
Common Whole Grains include:
- Wheat – Whole Wheat Flour, Whole Durum Flour, Wheat Berries (kernels), Bulgur, Cracked Wheat, Wheat flakes, Whole Wheat Pasta and Couscous. High in fibre.
- Oats – Oats flour, Oatmeal, Old Fashioned(Regular) Oats, Quick Oats, Instant Oats, Steel-cut (Irish or Scottish) Oats. Helps in lowering LDL cholesterol.
- Brown Rice – lowest in fiber compared to other whole grains.
- Barley (hulled or hull-less and not Pearl) – Whole Barley, Barley flakes. High in Fiber which can reduce “bad” cholesterol.
- Corn – Corn flour, Whole Cornmeal, Whole Grain Corn, Popcorn
- Millet – Pearl Millet, Finger Millet (Ragi), Foxtail Millet, Proso Millet
- Sorghum (Milo) – Sorghum Flour, Whole Sorghum
- Teff – Teff flour, Whole Teff
- Spelt – a variety of Wheat. Whole Spelt, Spelt flakes, Spelt Flour
- Rye – Whole Rye berries, Rye Flour, Pumpernickel Bread. High in fiber and protein.
- Triticale – Hybrid of Wheat & Rye, high in fiber.
- Wild Rice – Low in Fiber but expensive. Usually mixed with Brown or White Rice.
Pseudo Grains (similar to Whole Grains)
- Quinoa – reduces risk of diabetes. Cooks quickly. Low in Fiber.
- Amaranth – Amaranth Grains, Amaranth Flour.
- Buckwheat – Buckwheat flour, Unhulled Groats, Hulled Groats, Japanese Soba Noodles
Be cautious while shopping. Foods labeled with the words “multi-grain,” “stone-ground,” “100% wheat,” “cracked wheat,” “seven-grain,” or “bran” are usually not whole-grain products. Always read the ingredient list to find out if its whole grain or not.