By Kristin Kirkpatrick, R.D. for YouBeauty
Whole grains took center stage a few years ago when the government recommended that Americans fill half of their plates with whole grain sources. It was an exciting win for dietitians who are constantly trying to dispel the fear that all carbohydrates are bad.
Many consumers, however, were left packing their plates with brown rice and whole grain bread. While those options are great ones, many people don't know what other grains to turn to. Let's start first with the "why" behind the benefits of consuming whole grains -- in other words, grains that have kept all of their pieces and parts.
Whole grain kernels consist of three parts: the bran, the endosperm and the germ. Each part offers a wide variety of health benefits along with nutrients. The bran is the outermost layer that contains fiber, antioxidants, B vitamins and phytochemicals. Next comes the endosperm, which is the middle layer that contains mostly carbohydrates, some protein and small amounts of B vitamins and minerals. Finally, the innermost layer contains the germ, which houses all the healthy fats, B vitamins, phytochemicals and antioxidants. In most refined grain options, the germ and bran (and all of their wonderful components) get stripped away, leaving behind the starch-heavy and nutrient-deficient endosperm.
To get the most out of your grains, choose ones that keep all three parts intact, including these fabulous five options:
Julie Kane contributed to this article.