You may have heard that eating wholegrains is good for you. But do you really know what wholegrains are - or why they are beneficial? Perhaps it's time to start reaping the benefits of wholegrains by getting to know them
You first need to know that all grains start out as
wholegrains. After milling, the grains must keep all three original parts - the bran, endosperm and germ - in their original proportions to qualify as wholegrains.
Some wholegrains 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..
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 wholegrains are rich sources of these beneficial compounds too.
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,
Eating more wholegrains has been shown to lower the risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart diseases, diabetes and certain cancers. The health benefits of wholegrains 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 wholegrains 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.
wholegrains 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.
The Dietary Guidelines for Adult Singaporeans recommend that we eat sufficient amounts of grains especially wholegrains. Adults should aim to consume wholegrains 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:
Thankfully, getting more wholegrains 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.
Do you think that wholegrains 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 wholegrains, you will appreciate how wholegrains can add interesting textures to dishes. Just use your imagination when combining wholegrains with other flavourful ingredients in your favourite dish.
Examples of ways to include wholegrains:
Eating a variety of wholegrains not only ensures you get more nutrients, but will also make your meals and snacks more interesting.
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This article was last reviewed on
15 Sep 2023
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