Benefits of Whole Grains

What Are Whole Grains?

You hear in the news about whole wheat, cracked wheat, honey wheat, whole grain wheat and other labels that may have your head spinning. But, what is good for you and what is not?

Whole grains are grains that contain all parts of the seed. Have you ever seen a piece of popcorn before it pops? It is a kernel of corn. There is a hard but thin outer covering. The yellow that you see is the majority of the seed and is underneath this outer covering. At the bottom of the seed is a small portion that is another part entirely.

There are three parts of a seed. The outer covering is the bran. If you know something about bran, then you know that it contains lots of fiber. The bulk of the kernel is the endosperm. It is the part that is often kept after processing. The smaller portion is the germ. New plants spring from this part of the seed.

During processing, the bran and the germ are stripped away leaving the inside endosperm. With a piece of popcorn, this is the part that pops up nice and pretty. While it does have some nutritional value, it doesn’t have the same amount of nutrients that eating the entire seed does.

Whole grains are made of the seeds of various plants. Many seeds can be eaten as is. They can be eaten as cold cereal or sprinkled on top of yogurt or in smoothies. Eating whole grain breads you may encounter seeds inside the bread.

Even with cooking, using the entire seed component provides more nutrients. We are talking about selenium, potassium and magnesium. Potassium is a vital electrolyte for the body. Most people don’t get enough. Others are vital to brain function and cell function.

If you look at refined grains versus whole grains you will find that there is no real difference in the caloric intake. What is different is the amount of fiber. There is more fiber in the whole grains.

Fiber is a helpful aid in the body. Fiber helps remove fat when it moves through the system. It also promotes digestive health and healthy weight loss. Lower blood sugar levels and stable insulin levels are also a benefit of fiber.

You may already eat a lot of carbohydrates. Changing to healthier alternatives can increase weight loss, promote healthy elimination and provide vitamins and minerals for overall bodily function.