Whole Wheat

Whole wheat products contain the starchy endosperm portion of the kernel, in addition to the nutrient-dense germ and bran. Refined grains have had the germ and bran removed, and are "enriched" to add back certain nutrients. Unfortunately, fiber and several other nutrients remain reduced or lost in the refining process.

Why whole wheat?

  • Like other whole grains, whole wheat may reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
  • Certain compounds in wheat, especially wheat bran, may be protective against certain cancers.
  • Whole wheat products are high in fiber and magnesium.

Types of whole wheat products

  • Wheat berries — This is the whole wheat kernel with only the hull removed. Cooking time is long (45-60 minutes), but the health benefits are great. Cooked wheat berries make a tasty side dish or addition to breads and salads.
  • Whole wheat flour — This is the standard whole grain flour that is used to make a variety of baked goods—from breads and bagels to muffins and cookies. Whole wheat pastry flour is also available for quick breads and baked products where a lighter texture and flakier crumb are desired.
  • Whole wheat pasta — This can be found in a variety of shapes and sizes. It has a slightly chewier texture, but can be substituted for most pasta dishes. The cooking time may be longer than traditional enriched pasta products.
  • Bulgur — This is a type of parboiled wheat, which therefore cooks quickly. It is well known for its role in the dish "tabbouleh," but can be used in a variety of other dishes.
  • Whole wheat couscous — This tiny "grain" is actually a type of pasta. It cooks very quickly and has a mild flavor, making it a convenient, versatile source of whole grain.

Photo: Wheat Field