Any food made from wheat, rice, oats, corn, or another cereal is a grain product. This includes bread, pasta, oatmeal and grits are all grain products. There are two main types of grain products: whole grains and refined grains.
Whole grains contain the entire grain (bran, germ and endosperm). Ex: whole wheat, oats/oatmeal, rye, barley, corn, popcorn, brown rice, wild rice, buckwheat, triticale, bulgur, millet, quinoa, and sorghum. Refined grains have been ground into flour or meal which results in the bran and germ being removed. This gives grains a finer texture and improves their shelf life. This process removes some important nutrients, including B-vitamins, iron and dietary fiber. Ex: wheat flour, enriched bread and white rice.
Whole grains are nutritious because they have a lower glycemic index. They lead to a smaller rise and fall in blood-sugar levels after a meal than refined grains do. Including whole grains in your diet plan may help you reach or manage a healthy weight.
Whole grains contain important source of many nutrients:
· Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3 and Vitamin B9
· Folate (folic acid & B vitamin) helps the body form new cells and can prevent certain birth defects
· Iron is used to carry oxygen in the blood
· Magnesium is a mineral that is involved in more than 300 processes in the body.
· Selenium is important for a healthy immune system and regulating thyroid hormone action
It is important to include a variety of grains in your eating plan because grains differ in their nutrient content. Whole grains can be a good source of fiber - refined grains usually are not
Choose whole grain foods that contain one of the following ingredients first on the label’s ingredient list:
· Whole wheat, graham flour
· Whole oats
· Brown rice
· Wild rice
· Whole-grain corn
· Whole-grain barley
· Whole-wheat bulgur and whole rye