High fibre content makes grains an important part of every diet. Here is some information about grains and four great recipes.
"On white or whole wheat" must be the most-asked question at the lunch counter. If you choose whole wheat, your sandwich will not only be tastier but will provide more fibre, vitamin B6, magnesium and zinc. Whole grains -- whether from the wheat flour in the sandwich bread or the brown rice in a pilaf or the oats in your morning porridge -- contain all the parts of the grain kernel; in refined grains, however, the bran and germ -- which house most of the nutrients -- have been removed. One of the reasons whole grains are so important in our diet is their high fibre content, says Suzanne Hendricks, president of the National Institute of Nutrition. "This means they are good regulators and play a preventive role in certain disease conditions, such as diverticulitis, heart disease and diabetes." Try these ways to incorporate whole grains into a simple pilaf, a fruity loaf, muffins and good old peanut butter cookies.
Grain of goodness
Whole grains, such as wheat, oats, barley, rye and rice, retain all the parts of the grain kernel after milling. The endosperm (the inside, or majority of the kernel) has most of the carbohydrates and protein, some B vitamins and some of the fibre. The bran (multilayer fibrous coating) provides most of the B vitamins, 66 per cent of the minerals and most of the fibre. The germ (embryo that develops to form a new plant) contains some polyunsaturated fat and vitamin E.
In refined grains, such as white rice, only the endosperm is retained after milling.
In enriched products (flour, breed, pasta), some of the vitamins and minerals lost during processing are restored.
The Quest for Whole Grains
To get more whole grains in your diet, choose whole wheat bread over white, brown rice instead of white, and cereals with whole grains at the top of the ingredient list.
Because of the slight fat content in whole grains, they can go rancid. Store in refrigerator or freezer or buy in amounts to use within a month.
• Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Cookies
HIGH IN IRON
• Nutty Brown Rice Pilaf