Food not only gives us nutrition but a range of emotions and pleasures. The taste, the smell, the textures which awaken different senses.
It’s up to us, to not only incorporate a well-balanced diet, into our lifestyle; but to also make it as healthy as we can.
Opening our minds to creating new experiences we can then wonder into possibilities that we did not know existed. Health education starts by understanding what our diet consists of.
Understanding the nutrients found in our food will help understand what are the best choices to make.
Most of the world has relied on grains for the last 3000-4000 years as a major part of the diet. In the United States wheat, oats, rye, rice, maize and rice are the more common whole grains.
They are known for being nutrient rich, containing not only antioxidants, but also minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals that are essential to the body. To understand flour we should understand the grain. A whole grain consists of three parts; the bran, endosperm and germ.
Bran: exterior part of the kernel which is rich in fiber and has supplies of antioxidants, and B Vitamins.
Endosperm: largest part of the germ, it is the food supply for the germ. The endosperm contains protein and starchy carbohydrates and the least amount of vitamins and minerals
Germ: plant embryo. Contains healthy fats, B vitamins, minerals, and some proteins,
Refined grain, whole grain, sprouted grains
Now that we know the grain we need to understand the difference between what this means to our nutrition.
Let’s understand the difference between refined, whole grain, and sprouted grain.
Only in the last 100 years have people in the United States consumed refined flour. Refining the flour removes the bran, insoluble fiber, removing many of the minerals, vitamins.
A whole grain is the entire grain with nothing removed.
Sprouted grain have a specific definition by the USDA and the American Association of Cereal Chemists : “Malted or sprouted grains containing all the original bran, germ and endosperm shall be considered whole grains as long as the sprout growth does not exceed kernel length and nutrient values have not diminished. These grains should be labeled as malted or sprouted whole grain.”
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Are Sprouted Grains Better?
Sprouted grains are simply spouted whole-grain seeds. During the process of spouting grains the seeds are soaked while being in a warm environment.
During the sprouting the seed looses starch but gains nutrients. They help with overall gut health as well as in digestion.
If you have kindle here is a link for a book you can get on free on Kindle or buy on Amazon: The Everything Sprouted Grains Book: A Complete Guide to the Miracle of Sprouted Grains
So What Exactly Are The Benefits
The reduction of starch in the sprouted grain increases iron, folate, magnesium, vitamin C among other nutrients. The nutrients are the same in a sprouted grain as those of the whole grain but are found in different percentages.
There are studies found that the reduction of starch in sprouted wheat helps with digestion.
AARP and U.S. National Cancer Institute have found that having a higher intake of fiber in your diet links with lower risk of death from diseases such as heart disease, respiratory disease and cancer.
Which Grains are Gluten Free?
For those with that are seeking a gluten free option there are numerous options. Here are some of the more popular ones in Amazon:
Where to go from here?
It is recommended that you should have three to six servings of whole grains a day. There options are plentiful. You could eat them in muffins, breads, cupcakes, pizza crusts. Pastas, crackers, buns, tortillas.
As a final guideline check the ingredients and make sure sprouted grains are the first ingredient. Preservatives are required for products found in shelves, if you are searching for products that do not require preservatives are located in the freezer section.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. December 2015. Available at http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/
Harvard T. H. Chan, School of Public Health (2020) What Should you Eat? https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-shouldyoueat/wholegrains/#:~:text=All whole grain kernels contain, bran, germ, and endosperm
MarcoMontemurro, EricaPontonio, MarcoGobbetti, Carlo GiuseppeRizzelloa (2019) Investigation of the nutritional, functional and technological effects of the sourdough fermentation of sprouted flours https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0168160518304720
Slavin, J. (2004). Whole grains and human health. Nutrition research reviews, 17(1), 99-110.
Godman, Heidi, (2017)Harvard Health Publishing: Are sprouted grains more nutritious than regular whole grains?
Park Y, Subar AF, Hollenbeck A, Schatzkin A. Dietary Fiber Intake and Mortality in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study. Arch Intern Med. 2011 Feb 14. [Epub ahead of print]
Schatzkin A, Mouw T, Park Y, Subar AF, Kipnis V, Hollenbeck A, Leitzmann MF, Thompson FE. Dietary fiber and whole-grain consumption in relation to colorectal cancer in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 May;85(5):1353-60.