For thousands of years now, hearty whole grains have been the basis of the human diet. As a matter of fact, one of the definitions of the word “meal” is: “coarsely ground foodstuff; especially seeds of various cereal grasses or pulse” Put another way, ground grain.

Whole grains are an important source of many nutrients including dietary fibre, several B-complex vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and folate, the minerals iron, magnesium, and selenium, unsaturated fatty acids, and phytochemicals. Whole grains also contain complex carbohydrates that are broken down during digestion and converted to glucose, which is the substance the body prefers to burn for energy.
Dietary fibre from whole grains helps to reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower risk of heart disease. It can help reduce constipation and other health conditions such as diverticulosis. Fibre-containing foods such as whole grains help provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories.

The B-complex vitamins found in whole grains play a key role in metabolism They help the body release energy from protein, fat, and carbohydrates. B-complex vitamins are also essential for a healthy nervous system. Many refined grains are enriched with B-complex vitamins to replace the vitamins lost during refining.
Folate (folic acid) is needed for DNA synthesis, cell differentiation, and amino acid metabolism. Folate is especially important during pregnancy for normal fetal development. It also promotes the normal formation of red blood cells.
Iron is used in transporting oxygen in the blood. It improves energy, prevents anemia and provides each cell with oxygen to help function properly. Many teenage girls and women in their childbearing years have iron-deficiency anemia and should eat more iron containing foods.

Whole grains also provide magnesium and selenium. Magnesium works to build bones, conduct nerve impulses and contract muscles. It also plays a role in the production of energy, especially in the heart, brain, and other vital organs. Selenium works as an antioxidant to fight free-radical damage and protect cells from oxidation. It is also important for a healthy immune system.

A diet rich in whole grains has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease by decreasing cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Whole grains have also been found to reduce the risks of many types of cancer and help regulate blood glucose levels in people living with diabetes. Including whole grains in the diet can also help with weight management.

Grains can be consumed in the form of breads, cereals, or pastas. Common types of whole grains include:

-Whole wheat
-Brown and wild rice
-Barley (not pearl)
-Whole oats
-Whole rye

Less common types of whole grains include:


Whole grains are delicious and nutritious. A healthy diet that includes whole grains can help provide the essential nutrition needed for optimal health and well-being. Next time you reach for a loaf of bread, get going with the grain and reach for whole grain!

Author's Bio: 

A Product Consultant and Member of The AIM Companies for over twenty-two years, Joanne Jackson takes pride in sharing her knowledge of nutrition and the AIM products with others. As an advocate of healthy eating and proper nutrition, Joanne understands that the choices we make, and choosing them wisely, is the key to wellness. Joanne holds a certificate in Natural Health Fundamentals and is currently studying for her diploma as a Certified Holistic Nutritionist. Sign up for her informative free newsletter by visiting or