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What are whole grains?

Jessica Crandall
Nutrition & Dietetics
Whole grains are as simple as they sound the entire kernel is used to make the product. The kernel is made up of the bran, germ, and endosperm. For white breads, pastas, and crackers only the endosperm is used and the germ and the bran are removed. Vital nutrients are present in the germ and bran such as B vitamins, fiber, antioxidants, and iron. Using the whole kernel of wheat helps to provide more vitamins and minerals per calorie than using just the endosperm. Choosing whole grain options in the grocery store and restaurants is easy by looking at labels and asking servers for nutritional fact sheets. Look for whole grains on the packaging and fiber content to determine the right products for you and your family.

More related answers: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and Whole Grains Council 
Vandana  R. Sheth
Nutrition & Dietetics
Whole grains are grains that have their entire kernel (bran, endosperm and germ) intact therefore providing valuable nutrients such as fiber, selenium, potassium and magnesium. Examples of whole grains include brown rice, whole grain cereal, bulgur, oatmeal, popcorn.
Ximena Jimenez
Nutrition & Dietetics
A whole grain is the entire seed of the plant. The see or kernel is composed of three parts: The bran which is the outer layer and contains fiber and B vitamins; the endosperm is a good source of energy, carbohydrates and protein; and the germ filled with antioxidants and healthy fats.

Some whole grains are: brown rice, corn, oats, quinoa, wild rice, buckwheat, barley and millet.
A whole grain contains the entire kernel, including the bran and germ. Getting rid of the bran and germ may lengthen the shelf life of foods, but it removes B vitamins, iron and fiber.

Some refined grains are enriched, meaning that some of the iron and vitamin B are added back in, but you still do not get the fiber.

By eating the entire kernel and loading up on fiber you can reduce your risk of heart problems by about 15 percent.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.