Grains are a popular food in most households around the world. But not all of them are processed the same way. It is this part that really matters and can help direct us in making the healthiest grain choices.

What makes grains so nutritious?

All grains come with three parts, which is the outer layer known as the ‘bran’ (this part is nutritious), the embryo also known as the ‘germ’ (this is also nutrient-rich), and the germ’s food supply also known as the ‘endosperm’ (which is high in starchy carbohydrates).

Whole grains have all three of these parts intact, whereas processed grains do not. To consume grains and achieve maximum health benefits it is important to choose whole grain sources which have all the nutrients still inside. I mean this is why we eat after all!

Some of the nutrients included in whole grains but not in processed grains include:

  • magnesium,
  • iron,
  • manganese,
  • phosphorous,
  • selenium,
  • B vitamins,
  • dietary fibre.

When health benefits are linked to the consumption of grains it is always the whole grains that are focused on. Some of the health benefits from eating whole grains include lowering a persons risk of cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and more.

Health grains to choose from

To help you make the switch to whole grains here is a list of the 11 most popular:

  1. whole wheat
  2. whole oats
  3. buckwheat
  4. whole grain rye
  5. bulgur wheat
  6. whole barley
  7. millet
  8. quinoa
  9. spelt
  10. brown rice
  11. corn

If grains continue to be a struggle for you to eat even when choosing whole grain sources, this could mean you have an intolerance or something more serious like an autoimmune condition called Celiac disease.

If removing any of the grains that make you feel unwell helps, then this could mean you have either of these. To adequately rule out Celiac disease however or to receive a diagnosis, this will require a biopsy performed by a gastroenterologist.

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