All grains, from the familiar (Wheat including cracked wheat and wheatberries, Oats, Rye, Corn, Rice, both brown rice and coloured rice such as Wild rice) to the less well-known (Amaranth, Barley, Buckwheat, Millet, Spelt, Emmer (farro), Einkorn, Kamut, durum and forms such as Bulgur, Quinoa, Sorghum (also called milo), Teff and Triticale). The bran and germ of these grains components are rich in fibre, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fats. These are the parts removed in the refining process to produce white wheat flour or other products made from refined grains, where the refined product is mainly starch and has lost most of its nutrients.
Whole grain foods provide a good source of minerals in the diet, including calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc and phosphorus. The bioavailability of minerals may, however, be limited due to the presence of phytate (inositol hexaphosphate). Whole wheat and other whole grains can also be rich sources of selenium, although the actual selenium content of the grain will vary according to the selenium content of the soil and this can dramatically affect the nutritional selenium intake.
Whole grains have for long been known to be an important source of vitamins, such as thiamine, vitamin E and folates. Especially Vitamin E, an antioxidant, seems to be present in high amounts in just about all whole wheat and whole grain products. Vitamin E is thought to be a strong antioxidant which has the power to prevent cancer-causing chemicals, e.g. alloxan, leftover during processing white bread, from doing harm. If you have to use white flour in baking as it does produce lighter breads, the addition of whole grain to white flour is beneficial as it cancels the effect of alloxan.
Whole grain foods may also have anti carcinogenic properties because of Vitamin E’s ability to …Continue Reading