Grains are valuable for their starch content and vitamins, minerals, and fiber as well as some protein. (See illustration.) Refining and processing reduces nutrient values and raises their glycemic index. Complex carbohydrates stabilize blood sugar levels. Grains include wheat, rye, oats, rice, millet, buckwheat, bulgur, couscous, amaranth, barley, kamut, spelt, tef, quinoa, and wild rice. Substitute % to 1 cup whole-wheat flour for 1 cup white flour in bread recipes, and the same for whole-wheat pastry flour in quick breads, cookies, and cakes. Whole grains can become rancid so store in airtight containers in a cool place or in the refrigerator.


Germ is 212% of Kernel

Of the whole kernel the germ contains:

64% Thiamine 26% Riboflavin 21% Pyridoxine 8% Protein 7% Pantothenic acid 2% Niacin

Bran is 14% of Kernel

Of the whole kernel the bran contains:

73% Pyridoxine 50% Pantothenic acid 42% Riboflavin 33% Thiamine 19% Protein

Endosperm is 83% of Kernel

Of the whole kernel the endosperm contains:

70-75% Protein

43% Pantothenic acid 32% Riboflavin 12% Niacin 6% Pyridoxine 3% Thiamine

Kernel (magnification)

Other nutrients found in the whole wheat grain are:

Kernel (magnification)

Other nutrients found in the whole wheat grain are:
















Folic Acid




Vitamin E

And other trace materials

The more unfamiliar grains include blue corn which is sweeter than yellow corn and has a higher content of protein and manganese. It can be substituted for yellow corn in any recipe. Bul-gur is whole wheat berries that are steamed and cracked. Bulgur is easier to chew, has a lighter texture, and needs less cooking than cracked wheat. Bulgur is the main ingredient in tabouli. Couscous, a tiny bead like pasta, is made from wheat and is easily prepared by simmering in water for one minute and letting stand covered for 10 minutes. The grain is available as whole wheat or refined. Amaranth is an ancient grain that has a high protein content and contains a variety of components including calcium, magnesium, and silicon. It is categorized by botanists as a C4 plant meaning it is superior in the process of photosynthesis, which makes it a very nutritious food. Amaranth can be cooked as a side dish, added to soups and stews, or popped like popcorn. The amount of amaranth in packaged products and cereals is usually not very significant.

Kamut means wheat in Egyptian and can be used in breads, baked goods, and pasta. It has a flavorful, buttery taste and can often be tolerated by individuals who are allergic to regular wheat. Quinoa can be used as a cereal, has the highest protein content of any grain, an amino acid profile similar to milk, more calcium than milk, and contains other nutrients including B vitamins and vitamin E. Prepare as a side dish, a substitute for rice in any recipe, or add to soups. Spelt is an ancient red wheat and is best used in cereals and breads. Easily assimilated by the body, it may be tolerated by individuals allergic to common wheat. Tef is a sweet grain originally from Ethiopia. It has a high mineral content and can be used as a side dish or as flour in baked goods and quick breads. Substitute part wheat flour for tef in recipes.

Barley, whole, also known as Scotch barley, is nutritious and chewy and can be eaten alone or combined with brown rice or beans, or as a base for soup. Pearl barley is refined losing fiber and nutrient content. Basmati is a long grain Himalayan rice with a nutty, buttery flavor. White basmati lacks the fiber and nutrient value of brown basmati. Texmati and calmati are basmati hybrids. Buckwheat is gluten-free and suitable for cereal/grain induced allergies. It has a high essential amino acid profile and is a good source of the bioflavonoid, rutin. Buckwheat groats can be used as a hot cereal or as a side dish and formed into croquettes or patties. Buckwheat flour is used in pancakes, crepes, and waffles, and can be partly substituted (10%) for wheat flour in baked goods, breads, and pasta. Japanese soba are buckwheat noodles.

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