Since we’re always recommending them and aren’t likely to stop doing so anytime soon, we thought it was about time we gave you an in-depth guide on what wholegrains are, what they do for our bodies and some of the best and healthiest ways to enjoy these nutrition powerhouses?
What are wholegrains?
A grain is considered to be a whole grain if it contains all three layers of the grain. These include:
- The bran: The outer layer
- Endosperm: This layer makes up the majority of the grain
- Germ: Also known as the “embryo” this is the centre of the whole grain
In contrast, refined grains have been milled, removing the bran and germ. This process creates a finer texture and longer shelf life, but removes many beneficial nutrients, including fibre (check out this article from our founder, Chloe McLeod, for more information on meeting your fibre needs). Examples of refined grains include white flour, white rice and white pasta.
The nutrients in wholegrains
Each layer of the wholegrain contains different nutrients. The bran contains fibre, antioxidants and important vitamins and minerals, such as B vitamins. The endosperm contains protein, carbohydrates and small amounts of vitamins and minerals. Lastly, the germ contains essential fatty acids, B vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and vitamin E.
The best sources of wholegrains include:
- Wholegrain or wholemeal breads and pastas
- Rolled oats
- Wholegrain breakfast cereals
- Brown/black/red rice
Incorporating them into your meals
Now that we know what a whole grain is, let’s discuss how to include them in our diet! Here are some of our favourite ideas:
- Wholegrain or wholemeal toast, sandwich or wrap
- Porridge for breakfast
- Stir-fry or curry served with brown, black or red rice
- Quinoa fried rice
- Spaghetti bolognese served with wholemeal pasta
Can you eat wholegrains if you are gluten-free?
Yes you can! Whole grains, such as quinoa, corn, brown rice, amaranth and buckwheat, are all gluten free.
Recommended daily intake
The recommended serving sizes of wholegrains for Australian adults is four to six per day. One serve is equal to one slice of bread, ½ cup cooked rice or pasta, ½ cup rolled oats, or 1 cup flakey whole grain cereal. So why not try swapping your regular white grains to a wholegrain option today, your body will thank you for it!
The best way to get sound nutrition advice that is perfect for you is to work with an accredited practising dietitian. You can book a consultation with a Verde Nutrition dietitian from anywhere in Australia with our telehealth services. Get started today.