There are two types of grains – whole grains and refined grains. Whole grains are superior to refined grains because they are nutrient dense and provide many health benefits. Whole grains consist of:
- Bran – contains phytonutrients, fiber, B vitamins, antioxidants, and trace minerals (iron, zinc, copper, magnesium)
- Germ – rich in B vitamins, vitamin E, trace minerals, antioxidants, healthy fats
- Endosperm – contains carbohydrate, protein, and some B vitamins
Refined grains contain only the endosperm! This means that there is significant loss of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants with refined grains. Optimize your intake of whole grains by choosing foods made with whole wheat flour as opposed to white flour.
Whole grains have been shown in clinical studies to reduce cholesterol and improve heart health. Additionally, whole grains have a lower glycemic index than refined grains, meaning they will be less likely to dramatically increase blood sugar.
Incorporate a variety of whole grain to enhance nutrient benefits, such as buckwheat, quinoa, and barley. To improve digestibility, try sprouting grains. Sprouting is a process that makes nutrients in grains more available to the human body.
Try switching out refined grains for whole grains for these added health benefits, and as always, it’s important to listen to your body, when it comes to the right grains for you.