Grains supply a multitude of important nutrients:
• Carbohydrates — these are the body’s main fuel. They give you energy to move and groove each day. In fact, the brain, heart and nervous system require a constant supply of carbohydrates to keep you breathing and thinking.
• B vitamins — like thiamin riboflavinand niacin, help your body use energy from the food you eat, in addition to supporting good nutrition.
• In addition, all enriched grain products are fortified with folic acid — a beneficial nutrient in reducing the risk for some birth defects. Whole grains provide all the nutrients of refined grains PLUS more! Let’s take a look at the impressive list of additional nutrients found in whole grains and what they do for you
• Fiber — It’s likely you’ve heard about this topic before — you know you need enough, but you might not know what the benefits are. o A low-fat diet high in soluble fiber can help reduce blood cholesterol levels and may reduce your risk for heart disease. o Fiber is also important for normal bowel function — it can help promote regularity. It can reduce constipation and may reduce the risk for diverticulosis. o In addition, fiber can help curb your hunger — this may be important for weight management
• Plant stanols and plant sterols — are found naturally in many plant-based foods, like whole grains, vegetables, nuts, and seeds — they are a healthy addition to any heart-healthy eating plan. • Antioxidants — are the vitamins and other substances that protect cells from damage.
• Phytonutrients — also called phytochemicals, are bountiful in whole grains — they contain hundreds of these beneficial compounds.
• Magnesium — is an important mineral found in whole grains. It is essential for bone building and also helps our bodies utilize the energy stored in our muscles. All of these nutrients work together! Sure, each one has its own function, but together, as part of a “whole grain package,” they supply a powerful punch to help you stay healthy. By choosing the whole grain you get the benefits of all the individual grain parts.
Whole grains or foods made from them contain all the essential parts and naturally-occurring nutrients of the entire grain seed. If the grain has been processed (e.g., cracked, crushed, rolled, extruded, and/or cooked), the food product should deliver approximately the same rich balance of nutrients that are found in the original grain seed. The following, when consumed in a form including the bran, germ and endosperm, are examples of generally accepted whole grain foods and flours.
• Corn, including whole cornmeal and popcorn
• Oats, including oatmeal
• Rice, both brown rice and colored rice
• Sorghum (also called milo)