January 27, 2011

The Whole Grain Mystery

With all the whole grain hype we see on labels today, it is easy to get confused and mislead! Every knows that whole grain is better, but why? Unlike refined grains, whole grains have the nutrient rich bran and germ intact. The bran and germ account for most of the wheat's nutritional value. In common white flour the bran and germ are removed. Wheat Bran is the outer shell of the wheat kernel and contains 12 grams of insoluble fiber per ounce. One ounce also contains 40% of the daily RDA for both niacin and magnesium and 15% of the RDA for iron, along with 60 calories, 5 grams of protein, and 1 gram of fat. Wheat germ is the embryo of the kernel, and contains a high proportion of polyunsaturated oils. One ounce contains 100 calories, 9 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, and 3 grams of fat. It also contains about one-third of the RDA for thiamine and vitamin E, as well as 10% of the RDA for iron and riboflavin.

Finding the best wheat bread maybe harder than you think. Bread labeled "multi-grain", "stone ground" or "100 % wheat" are often made with refined flour. To be sure you are getting bread with the benefit of whole grains, look at the ingredient list. If "bleached white flour", "unbleached enriched wheat flour" are listed as a top ingredient skip that loaf. Look for the word "whole" in the first few ingredients. Many breads that claim they are whole wheat are mixed with a large amount of refined flour. Even the label whole grain can have added whole grains like rye, but still mixed with refined flour.

Want to try a great healthy alternative to typical store bread? Try Ezekiel 4:9 bread, available at health food stores (and some really great chain grocery stores, too). Usually in the freezer section ( a great sign that whole or sprouted whole grains are used!!) To learn more check out the Ezekiel website: http://www.foodforlife.com/

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