Grains are basically seeds which are dry and hard. The plant that produces these grains is known as grain crop. There are many grains and they also have some specific geographical locations for their optimal growth. Since ancient times, grains are being cultured by humans. Because it is easy to store, transport from one to another place and easy to grow, they are being cultured by almost every civilization. So, grains are widely accepted as staple food till this date.
The grains are the products of their respective grain crop. They can be cereal grain, legumes, oilseeds. Almost every country more or less depends upon grains. About 48% of the total energy is obtained from grains. You can eat grains as regular food like rice and pulses but now a day, these grains are made into some final food products like biscuits from wheat, which are very popular among new generations.
The benefits of eating grains
There are many benefits of having grains. But some of the important are listed here:
Grains are comparatively economic food. As they are grown worldwide in large amount, their supply is much more as compared to other food categories. This results in lowering of cost. In some countries, the government subsidizes the cost of grains which make grains or cereals much more affordable by the common people. You can observe the poor people having grains only but not coke.
- Provides you with energy
Grains are good in supplying carbohydrates which actually provides us energy. So, to do every day’s physical work, we must have some kind of grain. You can observe the labors often feed on grains more than any other kind of food.
- Solve your Constipation
In today’s time, our bowel habit becomes irregular due to change in our food habit. Grains contain enough soluble and insoluble fibers. This fiber cannot be digested or absorbed and thus, expelled through stools. This solves the problem of constipation.
- Prevent Cancer
Grains also contain antioxidants which prevent the free radical injury to the tissue. Oxidation reactions of free radical may cause the cell growth factors to trigger and there may be overgrowth of the tissues. So, antioxidants are antidote to this harmful reaction and one of the factors which can counter cancer causing factors which are so abundant around you.
- Good For sick people and children
Grains are easy to digest and absorb. Sick people who are weak to chew foods can be given grains in semi liquid form. They do not have to chew and can easily consume them. As I have said you above, grains are energy giving food, so, they can provide energy to the children and sick people easily. There will be hardly any digestive problem after having grains.
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The Ultimate List of Grains
There are big list of grains. Let’s see one by one along with their classification.
- Cereal grains
They typically belong to grass family and mostly rich in carbohydrates. Cereal grains are mainly 8 types. They are:
- Maize: In majority, America and Africa grows maize and it is their staple food item. In many regions like Mexico, you can eat Tortillas, atole, tacos, tostadas are all based on maize. Dried maize or corn is also favorite food in many parts of the world. One of the most popular is popcorn is mainly based on corn. It is welcomed by many cultures. And you may have heard of Corn Flakes, based on corn. Pack of nutrients is present in maize. Carbohydrate is main ingredient and proteins are present in good amounts. Most important is the presence of essential amino acid Tryptophan and Lysine.
- Rice: One of the most important cereals in the whole world. Staple food in tropical and temperate regions and also in Brazil. In fact, half of the world’s population depends on rice. It has many varieties like white, red, brown and black. Nutritionally the rice is also very rich. The energy produced by rice is same as that of maize. Carbohydrate content is more and one of the most of many other staples. Now, in many countries, rice is distributed after genetic modifications. Like golden rice is genetically modified Vitamin A containing rice (as natural rice has no Vitamin A). In a nutshell, rice is the most popular cereal and distributor of energy throughout the world, specially in Asian countries.
- Wheat: Staple food of western countries like North America, Europe, Australia, etc. Most used form of wheat is flour. Wheat has little less carbohydrate than rice but contains fiber more than rest of the cereals. Wheat has significant amount of Vitamin B and other minerals. One of the worldwide concerns is that there is protein in wheat called gluten against which many people throughout the world is sensitive.
Others cereal grains are:
- Legumes: This is a plant or the fruit/seed of such a plant. Pulse is the term to describe legume that is harvested for the dry seed. Grain legumes are cultivated for human consumption and animal uses. Grain legumes are beans, lentils, peas and peanuts. Legumes are significant source of protein, dietary, fibers, carbohydrates and also minerals. From legumes, forage is also obtained for feeding the livestock. Legumes are found to be low in saturated fat and good source of antioxidants. They are of low glycemic index so they are suitable for the diabetics.
Some of the prominent examples of this are beans (all kinds), peanuts, peas, soybeans, etc.
- Oilseed: These crops are mainly important for they give edible oil. The oil derived from vegetables provides dietary energy and some essential fatty acid. They can be classified into 3 families: Mustard family (black, Indian, rapeseed), Aster family (safflower and sunflower) and other families (flax seed, hemp seed, poppy seed). Oilseeds are high in protein content. These oils also help to maintain the skin and boost the immune system. Mustard oil is a good supplier of B – Complex vitamins and also other minerals like calcium, copper, manganese, iron, selenium.
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The above list of grains contain some worthy information showing what are the grains available to us and also mention the health benefit of each one of them. Grains are the most common food item we have today and we eat them everyday, in fact, each time. Even we eat some factory finished products; they also contain many kinds of grains. But if you come to know what are the benefits of each one of the grain, then, you can surely choose what to eat and how much. Obviously, there are other side of the coin. If you consume more and more rice, that means, you are consuming more carbohydrate which make you more prone to become fatty as rice provides energy. If this energy cannot be spent then it will get stored as fat. Again if you use too much mustard oil for cooking, you may become obese in the long run. It is a matter of fact that if you want to remain healthy and keep yourself away from heart diseases then you should cook in sunflower or safflower oil.
Let us know what grains you consume every day.