We are excited to celebrate Whole Grains Month, and to do so we are sharing an overview of some of our favorite features of this fiber-filled food!
What are Whole Grains?
Whole grains are found only in the kernel of the grain plant, and not the entire plant itself. The three parts of the grain kernel that make up whole grains are:
- Bran – this contains fiber, vitamins, and minerals
- Endosperm – where starch is stored and acts as a carbohydrate and source of energy
- Germ – is home to vitamin E, antioxidants, and healthy fats
After being farmed, whole grain kernels can then go through three different types of milling to create the desired food products:
- Whole milling – popcorn, brown rice, quinoa
- Flour milling – whole wheat flour, cornmeal, buckwheat flour
- Cracked milling – oatmeal, barley grits, bulgar
Once shipped out to be sold, any whole grain food product must have roughly equal amounts of the three parts of the grain kernel to be labeled as “whole grain.”
Benefits of Whole Grains
Grains are the largest source of fiber in the American diet and contain a plentiful amount of other necessary nutrients such as B vitamins (folate, thiamin, niacin), zinc, iron, calcium, magnesium, and more. Whole grains are a great way to fill nutrient gaps in most American diets.
The fiber in whole grains helps curb hunger, improve digestive health, and may also protect against certain types of cancer. The B vitamins found in whole grains are vital to a healthy-working metabolism, and minerals such as iron, magnesium, and phosphorus help to keep cells healthy.
Whole Grain Fun Facts
- The most popular whole grain foods in the United States are barley, wild rice, popcorn, whole wheat rolled oats, and buckwheat.
- 56 percent of all whole grain consumption in the United States occurs at breakfast.
- Grains have the same daily value serving of protein and vitamin B2 as milk/dairy.
- 15 percent of American’s daily consumed calories come from grains.
Whole Grain Recipes
Looking to start incorporating whole grains into your daily eating habits? Here are some recipes packed with nutrient-dense whole grains to make your meals more fun: