Home page » Health & Nutrition » Wholegrains Explained

Wholegrains Explained

Wholegrains are very beneficial in the diet because they help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, several forms of cancer and some gastrointestinal problems. The risk of both heart disease and diabetes may be up to 30 per cent lower in people who regularly eat wholegrains as part of a low fat diet and healthy lifestyle.

What do wholegrains do?

The nutritional benefits from wholegrains are related to constituents in the entire grain: the bran, the germ and the endosperm.  The goodness these constituents contain includes dietary fibre, starch, fatty acids, antioxidant vitamins, minerals, lignans and other natural plant compounds called phytochemicals. The health benefits that the combination of these nutrients confers go beyond the individual ingredients and reflect more than the sum of their parts.

In order for a food product to be considered a wholegrain product, (and to use a health claim on its label), it must contain 51 per cent or more wholegrain ingredients by weight. This means that the wholegrain ingredient will therefore be the first on the ingredients list.
Foods that are 100% wholegrain include Porridge Oats and a small number of other wheat-based breakfast cereals. One bowl of these cereals (of a usual serving size) contains 2 servings of ‘wholegrains’ defined as:

One serving of wholegrain = 16g of actual wholegrain

Including oats in the diet
Eat porridge oats at breakfast and get 2 wholegrain servings.  A bowl of porridge oats (40g serving of oats= 2 servings of wholegrains) meets 66% of the recommended daily amount of wholegrains.
As a breakfast alternative, 20g of oats can be added to a smoothie to achieve one wholegrain serving.
Oats can be used to make muffins- ideal for children’s breakfasts and school lunch boxes.
Oats can also be used as an ingredient in main courses, for example in homemade burgers or used as a coating for fish or chicken instead of regular flour.