Whole grain is a cereal grain of one that contains germ, endosperm and bran, whereas in a refined grain, the bran and germ is removed leaving behind only the endosperm. For example, brown rice and brown bread is a whole grain, whereas white rice, white pasta and white bread are all refined grains. Bran is rich in dietary fiber, essential fatty acids and contains starch, protein, phytochemicals that protect the cells from damage which might lead to various chronic diseases in the long run. Whole grain also stimulates the digestive system and helps in excretion of toxins. Therefore, whole grains are considered much more nutritious than refined grains.
According to the research, whole grains contain dietary fiber that reduces chronic inflammation which is a cause of many diseases including cancer. It’s proven that ten grams of whole grains will reduce the risk of colorectal cancer by 10%.
How do you look for whole grain products over processed grain products?
The whole grain council has brought about a whole grain stamp that is being practiced worldwide.
|Words you may see on packages||What they mean|
|· whole grain [name of grain]
· whole wheat
· whole [other grain]
· stoneground whole [grain]
· brown rice
· oats, oatmeal (including old-fashioned oatmeal, instant oatmeal)
|YES — Contains all parts of the grain, so you’re getting all the nutrients of the whole grain.|
|· wheat, or wheat ﬂour
· durum wheat
· organic ﬂour
· multigrain (may describe several whole grains or several reﬁned grains, or a mix of both)
|MAYBE — These words are accurate descriptions of the package contents, but because some parts of the grain MAY be missing, you are likely missing the beneﬁts of whole grains. When in doubt, don’t trust these words!|
|· enriched ﬂour
· degerminated (on corn meal)
· wheat germ
|NO — These words never describe whole grains.|
The other way to know if it’s whole grain is to look at the ingredients list which signifies the total amount of whole grains used. FDA accreditation confirming whole grain usage can also be another way, but do check the other ingredients like fat, carbohydrates and sugar.
Always look for labels which specify a certain percentage next to the whole grain, due to the fact that many times the common food packaging just mentions whole grains and not the percentage, signifying that there is not much whole grain present at all.
Tips to snack, bake, crunch and munch more whole grains
- Use whole grain bread for making sandwiches, pastas, roasts.
- Whole grain oats can be used for breakfast since it contains a lot of protein as well as fiber and less of cholesterol which will protect you from many chronic illnesses.
- Choose popcorn for snacks because it contains a lot of fiber. (Home made popcorn with limited salt)
- Mix whole grain flour with all-purpose flour to increase the fiber content in your diet.
- Make new recipes with mix of whole grains.
- As people are mostly accustomed to white rice, white bread, the switch over to brown rice, brown bread will be difficult at the start, however incorporating the unrefined grains gradually will help.
- Chips can also be substituted with whole grain chips.
- Whole grain tortillas, bagels, pita pockets and rolls.
- Use unrefined steel cut oats rather than the quick cook ready-made packages.
- Try millet and oat granola bar.
- Germinated brown rice will increase its nutritional value.
- Instead of making puttu and spring hoppers in white rice flour, red rice or ragi flour should be used.
- At least two dishes of whole grain meals per day should be taken.
- Oat and barley porridge contains a lot of fiber.
Causes of cancer are multifactorial but an anti-cancer diet is one of that can most definitely reduce the risk of cancer. The food that we eat should be a medicine to prevent many chronic illnesses. Above is a small list of tips for making a changeover to whole grains, one simple change in your diet can have profound effects on your health.