Whole Grains: So What?

At Next Jump, in case you didn’t notice, we like serving whole wheat bread and other whole grain products.  This is mainly because people tend to consume enough total grains in the form of rolls, cereal, tortillas, bagels, plain pasta, and white rice; but those grains are refined versus whole.  What is a whole grain and why are we obsessed with getting this thing into your bodies?

Whole Grains

All grains, whether they turn out as white bread or white rice later on, start out as a WHOLE grain.  There are three parts to a grain (see graphic above): the bran, germ and the endosperm.  The bran is full of fiber; the germ has lots of nutrients such as iron, magnesium, selenium, and B-vitamins.  The endosperm has no vitamins, has the most carbohydrates, the least fiber and the least protein.  This is the part that the processors leave in when they refine a product.

Refined Grains

During processing, the whole grain gets torn apart so that the bran and the germ are entirely removed, leaving the endosperm (weak!).  Why on earth would manufacturers want to do such a thing?  When the germ and the bran are removed, it gives grains a finer texture and improves shelf-life.  Add some solid trans-fats and sugars and you have yourself a cookie!

Enriched Grains

Luckily, manufacturers add back nutrients lost during processing.  Since the bran and the germ are removed, leaving just the endosperm, some manufacturers choose to enrich their product by replacing nutrients lost during processing (all the nutrients that whole grains have already: iron, magnesium, selenium, and B-vitamins).  That said, the enrichment process does not have as much fiber.

How to Include in your Meals and Snacks

USDA Recommendations Above

Why Do it?

Lots of evidence indicates that whole-grains may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and is associated with a lower body weight.

Examples

Some examples of whole-grain ingredients include buckwheat, bulgur, millet, oatmeal, quinoa, rolled oats, brown or wild rice, whole-grain barley, whole rye, and whole wheat.  Choosing whole grains that are higher in dietary fiber has additional health benefits.

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