July 15, 2014 by Johanna Burani
We’re all trying (aren’t we?) to eat more whole grains. The USDA’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourage us to hop on the whole grain bandwagon. Recipes online, in magazines and cookbooks, and on cooking shows with famous chefs abound with whole grain options. Even our bodies give us the thumbs up when we eat whole grains.
But stop a minute and ask yourself if you really are eating grains that are truly whole. First off, the grain must contain all three of its structural parts: the bran (outer) layer, the endosperm (starchy) layer and the germ (seed). It also should be minimally processed to minimize natural nutrient losses and disruption of the synergy within the layers.
A whole grain will look on your plate pretty much as it does in nature – minus the field debris and inedible outermost shell (the husk or hull). Take oats for instance. The steel cut version is the entire grain with just the husk removed. That same whole grain with the husk intact is called “groats” and that’s what horses eat!
Here are some examples of whole grains: pearl barley, steel cut or traditional rolled oats, corn, whole grain brown rice and wild rice (not really a grain), wheat berries, cracked wheat and bulgur, quinoa, buckwheat, rye and triticale.
You can find out the history, processing methods and interesting facts about these and other whole grains at www.wholegrainscouncil.org.
And, since these grains show up favorably on the lower end of the glycemic index, you can also learn more about them at www.glycemicindex.com.