Grains are seeds of various plants. A grain has three parts, the bran, the germ and the endosperm. The bran is that part of the grain that is seen on the outside. It is a rich source of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, riboflavin, niacin and thiamine. The bran is the most abundant source of fiber in grains. As all grains have bran, all types of grains are also rich in fiber. Some of the common types of grains are whole grains, barley, oats and wheat germ.
Of all grain types, the healthiest would be whole grains, primarily because it still contains all of its parts: bran, germ and endosperm.
Corn is one of the most popular grains used in food. The most common corn products include corn tortillas, polenta and corn bread.
In a number of countries, like the Philippines, rice is considered as a food staple. It is one of the easiest to digest and one of the least to cause allergic attacks. Rice can also be used as a substitute for wheat in baked products.
Barley is a type of grain that is abundant in beta glutens. Beta glutens are a form of fiber that is said to be effective in decreasing the risk of developing heart diseases. Beta glutens decrease LDL cholesterol that is found in the body’s arteries.
Barley is best consumed in its waxy and hulled form. This type of barley is available in grocery stores and health food stores. When buying barley, it is recommended to look for the un-pearled variety, as this means that the barley product is both very rich in fiber and has not been processed.
Oats are another type of grain that acts as a sponge in the body. These grains are commonly used in baked goods, cereals and loaves. It is an excellent type of food that decreases bad cholesterol in the blood. Oats are classified as a soluble type of fiber. It is believed that eating at least 3 grams of oats every day lowers the body’s bad cholesterol by 5.6% in six weeks.
Wheat germ is a type of grain that contains a high amount of magnesium and vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 helps keep the body’s immune system stay strong. These nutrients can be obtained by consuming whole wheat bread and other products made from whole-wheat flour. In addition, eating at least ¼ cup of wheat germ can supply the body with the necessary amounts of vitamin B6, zinc, iron, fiber and magnesium needed each day. Wheat germ is also rich in vitamin E and chromium.