Types of grains
Grains are edible seeds like wheat, corn (also called maize), rice, barley, oats, rye, millet, quinoa and teff. They can be eaten whole or made into products like couscous (wheat) and polenta (corn). Bread, breakfast cereals, pasta, and noodles are also made from different types of grains.
Whole grains vs refined grains
When it comes to heart health, we often talk about ‘whole grains’ and ‘refined grains’ (which are sometimes also called ‘white’ grains). These terms refer to how processed the grains are.
Grains are made up of 3 parts: bran (outer layer), germ and endosperm. Whole grain foods include all three parts of the grain. The reduced processing involved in whole grain foods means they contain more fibre and vitamins and minerals than their refined counterparts, which have the bran and germ removed. The fibre in whole grain foods can help reduce LDL cholesterol (known as bad cholesterol), which can lower your risk of heart disease. It also helps you feel full for longer, which can help with weight management.