Grains are the raw ingredients we use to produce bread, pasta, oatmeal, and breakfast cereals but to name a few. They constitute by far the most important part of our diet, and are split into two sub groups, whole grains and refined grains Whole grains consist of the entire kernel, that is the bran, germ and endosperm. These of which include:
whole wheat flour
bulgur (cracked wheat)
Refined grains are those that have been milled, which is a process that removes the bran and germ, (these of which are an essential source of vitamin's E and B, zinc, selenium, iron, copper manganese and magnesium). This procedure gives grains a finer texture and improves its shelf life at the expense of its all important fibre content. The refined group includes:
As has been mentioned, nutrient loss during this process can be substantial therefore refined grains are usually enriched which means that certain vitamins and iron are added after processing to recoup the losses. Be on the lookout for product labels that mentioned "enriched" as this signifies "refined", and don't be mislead also by bread products being wholemeal because they "look brown", as molasses is a common ingredient used to achieve this effect! Quite often products are also a combination of whole and refined plus they may have added bran for extra fibre.