This week (12-19 June, 2022) is Whole Grain Week, so we’ve put together the key facts on what’s to gain from eating wholegrain.
What are the recommendations for grain foods?
We’re recommended to eat a wide variety of grain foods every day, including mostly wholegrain or high fibre varieties. How much is dependent on factors such as age, sex, and how active we are. You can read more on the recommendations here.
What are grain foods?
These are foods that are made from grains, such as wheat, rice, oats, corn, rye and barley. Grain foods include breads (e.g. wholegrain, white, pita), breakfast cereals (e.g. oats, weet-bix), grains (e.g. rice, quinoa), and other grain products (e.g. pasta, flour).
What makes it wholegrain?
Grains are made up of 3 layers. This includes the bran (outside layer), the endosperm (main part of the grain) and the germ (smallest part). The bran and germ hold most of the fibre, vitamins and minerals (especially the bran), while the endosperm is mostly made up of starch. Wholegrain foods contain all 3 layers of the grain, while non-wholegrain varieties (such as white bread) remove the bran (and sometimes the germ) during processing. Wholemeal foods also contain the whole grain, it has just been crushed down into a finer texture.
What are the benefits of eating wholegrains?
Grain foods are a good source of carbohydrates, protein, fibre and various vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins, vitamin E, zinc and iron.
Eating wholegrains is linked with a reduced risk of chronic diseases including coronary heart disease and diabetes, and can also be helpful in managing weight. There are a few factors that contribute to this, including that wholegrains are low in saturated fat and are a source of unsaturated (healthy) fats, and they have a high fibre content, which helps to keep you fuller for longer and aids in digestion.
Check out our Healthy, Easy Recipes for some recipes using wholegrains. Some of our top picks include: