Nutrients of Grains

​​Grain Nutrients​

What qualifies as whole grains?

​You first need to know that all grains start out as whole grains​. After milling, the grains must keep all three original parts - the bran, endosperm and germ - in their original proportions to qualify as whole grains.

Some whole grains can be eaten on its own such as brown rice and oatmeal. They may also be used to make wholegrain products e.g. brown rice in brown rice vermicelli; wholewheat flour in wholemeal bread and chapati; as well as whole wheat and oats in wholegrain breakfast cereals..

What's so good about whole grains?

When you think of healthy food, what comes first to your mind? Fruit and vegetables? Like most people, you would know that fruit and vegetables are packed with vitamins, antioxidants and fibre. But many people do not realise that whole grains are rich sources of these beneficial compounds too.​

Bran This outer layer is rich in fibre, B vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals (beneficial plant substances)
Endosperm This middle layer contains mainly carbohydrate and protein
Germ This portion of the grain is packed with B vitamins, vitamin E, trace minerals and phytochemicals

​​​During the refining process of grains (e.g. in the production of white rice and white flour), the germ and bran layers are removed – this results in the loss of a host of important nutrients,

The wholesome benefits of whole grains​​​​​

Eating more whole grains has been shown to lower the risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart diseases, diabetes and certain cancers. The health benefits of whole grains are not just contributed by fibre or any single nutrient. Instead, the different components all work together to protect your health. 

For example, vitamin E, selenium and phytic acid found in whole grains have antioxidant effects which may help prevent damage to blood vessels, while soluble fibre helps reduce blood cholesterol. These play a role in lowering the risk of developing heart disease.

Whole grains may also support weight management as they provide bulk to the diet. This promotes the feeling of fullness and helps reduce the risk of overeating.​

How much do you need?

The Dietary Guidelines for Adult Singaporeans recommend that we eat sufficient amounts of grains especially whole grains. Adults should aim to consume whole grains instead of refined gains wherever possible.

All you have to do is replace your refined items with wholegrain items. E.g. instead of white rice, go for brown rice. Examples of 1 serving of wholegrain food are:


Some tips to get started

Thankfully, getting more whole grains into your diet is not as difficult as you think.

Other than brown rice or wholemeal breads, you can enjoy a broad range of ready-to-eat wholegrain breakfast cereals, instant oatmeal, chapati and wholegrain biscuits.

Enjoying your whole grains

Do you think that whole grains are dry and gritty? Try different types of wholegrain food and you will discover a subtle, pleasant "nutty" flavour. Once you acquire the taste for whole grains, you will appreciate how whole grains can add interesting textures to dishes. Just use your imagination when combining whole grains with other flavourful ingredients in your favourite dish.

Examples of ways to include whole grains:

  • Make your sandwich with wholemeal or wholegrain breads. For a start, use one slice of white and another slice of wholemeal bread to make an interesting sandwich.
  • Mix brown rice with white rice when you are cooking for your family.
  • Enjoy wholegrain cereals with low fat milk or yoghurt, and top it up with any fruit of your choice

Eating a variety of whole grains not only ensures you get more nutrients, but will also make your meals and snacks more interesting.

So Remember...

  • Whole grains are rich in fibre, vitamins, minerals and various phytochemicals (beneficial plant substances). Eating whole grains can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diab​​etes, while assisting in weight management​.
  • Aim to consume whole grains instead of refined grains
  • Start including wholegrain food in your diet today!