You may frequently see the term “whole grains” labeled throughout the cereal aisle, but what does that actually mean?
Coming from the seeds of grass-like plants, corn, rice and wheat are the most common types of whole grains, however, some seeds of non-grass plants, like buckwheat, quinoa and amaranth, are also considered whole grains.
The difference between whole grains and refined grains is which parts of the seeds are included in the product. A seed consists of three parts: the bran which is the outer shell, the endosperm which is the middle layer, and the germ which is the inner layer. Whole grains contain all three components while refined grains remove the germ and bran, leaving only the middle layer. Even if the seeds are rolled, crushed, or cracked, as long as all three layers are present, they are still considered whole grains.
Although recent diet trends like Paleo and Keto, suggest whole grains are bad for you, there are many health benefits of this superfood. Not only are they high in nutrients and fiber, but they can lower your risk of heart disease, stroke and obesity.
If you’re incorporating more whole grains into your diet, there are a few things you should look out for. When looking at processed whole grain products, check the ingredients to make sure they consist of only whole grains and not a mixture of whole and refined. Also, make sure to check the sugar content. Some brands will hide excessive amounts of sugar content with labeling like “natural” and “whole grains” to make it seem healthier.
To get you started, here are a few ways to eat more whole grains:
- Try overnight oats! Here are the 6 Best Overnight Oat Recipes
- Snack on some popcorn
- Grill some corn on the cobs at your next BBQ
- Throw some brown rice or quinoa under your favorite veggie stir fry
- Make your own Whole Grain No-Bake Granola Bars