Most people have heard of wholegrains and know that they are really good for us. Here at The Farm Kitchen, we love wholegrains and do everything we can to introduce them into as many of our recipes as possible. But what exactly are they and why are they so good for us? 

Wholegrains are the seeds of cereal plants such as wheat, barley and rye. They have had very little removed in processing and contain all three parts of the grain, which means they  have a much wider range of nutrients. You’ll find them in wholemeal bread, wraps and pittas, wholewheat pasta and flour, oatcakes and wholegrain cereals like Weetabix and Bran Flakes. Brown rice and oats for porridge are also wholegrains, so there are plenty to choose from.

One tiny grain, a whole host of goodness

So, let’s take a closer look at this little miracle ingredient. Each wholegrain has three parts to it. There’s the bran, which is the tough outer shell that contains fibre, B vitamins including folic acid and minerals such as magnesium, iron and zinc; the endosperm which is the starchy middle part made of carbohydrate and some protein and finally, the germ – the nutrient rich inner part.

Meanwhile, processed grains – which you find in white bread, white pasta, white rice and most shop bought cakes and biscuits – only contain the endosperm or carbohydrate part.  You miss out on all of the additional vitamins, minerals and fibre contained in the other parts, which are well worth having, especially for children as they grow, develop and learn.

Children reap the rewards of wholegrain

The B Vitamins found in wholegrains are essential for a healthy nervous system, but they’re also essential for helping your child’s body produce energy from fats, carbohydrates and glucose – much needed for keeping children active. Iron carries the oxygen in your blood, feeding the brain for learning and magnesium will help to build strong bones and releases energy from muscles.

Eating wholegrains is also a great way to get more fibre into your diet. Fibre is the food that feeds all the good bacteria in your gut, keeping your gut fit and healthy. This will not only improve your digestion but a healthy gut will also help support your immune system, helping to keep you fighting fit.

As well as all of this, diets rich in wholegrains have also been shown to lower the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity – the latter two now rising dramatically in children. What an incredible ingredient!

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