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Grains Week: Week 46 of BigBarns Food & Drink Weeks

With so much health advice around, and reports of the cancer risk of farmers spraying Glyphosate on ripe wheat, (previous blog here), it’s easy to get confused about what we should and shouldn’t eat, but one thing most experts agree on is that eating more wholegrains will keep us healthy.

What is wholegrain? An ingredient, which are simply grains such as wheat, oats or barley that have kept all the edible parts when processed for food use – using the ‘whole’ of the ‘grain’.

Things like wholemeal bread, porridge oats, brown rice and brown pasta are all wholegrain foods and experts recommend that we should be eating up to three portions (16g each) a day. But despite the nutritional benefits, National Diet and Nutrition Surveys show that 95% of UK adults fail to reach three servings a day. In fact, on average, most of us don’t even eat that in a week – and almost a third of us don’t eat any at all!

Wholegrain bread?

Wholegrain bread?

5 grainy facts:

1. Nearly all our ‘daily bread’ has NO wholegrains, and lack the nutritional qualities. The bread available in the supermarkets is made using bleached white flour that has most of the goodness removed but added gluten to make it fluffy. For more on bread click here.

2. More than 17,000 years ago, humans gathered the seeds of plants and ate them. After rubbing off the husks, early people simply chewed the kernels raw, parched or simmered.

3. Wheat originated in the “cradle of civilization” in the Tigris and Euphrates river valley, near what is now Iraq.

4. The Roman goddess, Ceres, who was deemed protector of the grain, gave grains their common name today – “cereal.”

5. Rye is good for the environment. 
It’s been used as a winter cover crop, especially in organic farming, for generations. Because it has deep roots, rye is able to capture nutrients, enhance soil health, prevent soil erosion, and reduce weeds without the use of herbicides.

6. Whole grains help the digestive system The fiber content keeps bowel movements regular (studies have shown that people who eat more fiber need fewer laxatives). And they help ward off diverticulosis, the condition in which little pouches form in the colon wall, causing inflammation, constipation, diarrhea and pain. Fiber is responsible for much of the benefit, but whole grains also contain lactic acid, which promotes “good bacteria” in the large intestine. These organisms aid digestion, promote better nutrition absorption, and may even beef up the body’s immune system.

Perfect sourdough loaf made from organic flour

Perfect sourdough loaf made from organic flour

UK grains website http://wholegraingoodness.hgca.com/ promotes wholegrain foods and offers some very tasty recipes containing wholegrains, as well as lots of advice on how to include more wholegrains in your diet.

Best of all, by choosing to eat more wholegrain foods you can also support some of Britain’s artisan producers who are making cereals, cakes, biscuits and bread from grains grown in Britain. To find businesses offering wholegrain foods click here Or for producers or retailers in your area use our local food map here.

If you have a favourite recipe using wholegrains then why not share it for a chance to win a prize? Please video your recipe and add it to KIS (Keep it Simple) Cookery. Please have a look at existing videos here and try and keep your video less than 2 minutes long.

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