Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What is a Whole Grain??

A Whole Grain is the entire edible part of any grain: wheat, corn, oats, and rice, among others. In the life cycle of plants, it's the seed from which other plants grow. Nutrients in these seeds supply the first nourishment for the plant... before the roots are formed. The whole grain, or seed, contains three parts: endosperm, bran, and germ.

The bran makes up the outer layers of the grain. It supplies antioxidants, B vitamins, trace minerals, and dietary fiber.

The endosperm, which is the inner part of the grain, has most of the proteins and carbohydrates, and just small amounts of vitamins and minerals. White flour is ground from the endosperm.
The germ is small but very important. It sprouts, generating a new plant. It has B vitamins, vitamin E, trace minerals, antioxidants, and essential fats.

It's clear why whole-grain products have more fiber; the bran and the germ supply most of the fiber. When milled to produce white flour, only the grain's endosperm remains. Most of the fibrous bran and the germs are removed-- along with important nutrients and phytonutrients, including fiber.

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