Bran is the hard outer layer of grain. Along with germ, it is an integral part of whole grains, and is often produced as a by-product of milling in the production of refined grains. When bran is removed from grains, the latter lose a portion of their nutritional value. Bran is present in and may be milled from any cereal grain, including rice, corn, wheat, maize, oats, barley, and millet. Bran should not be confused with chaff, which is a coarser, scalier material surrounding the grain, but not forming part of the grain itself.
Bran is particularly rich in dietary fiber and omegas and contains significant quantities of starch, protein, vitamins, and dietary minerals.
The nutritional benefits of wheat bran are mainly undisputed. A cup (58g) of wheat bran does offer significant nutritional pluses. One cup of wheat bran contains 99% of the US recommended daily allowance (RDA) of fiber, nine grams of protein, and 34% of the RDA for iron. Wheat bran is also high in protein, magnesium, manganese, niacin, phosphorus, zinc and vitamin B6, and is low in fat, with no cholesterol, and no sugar or sodium.
Wheat bran is beneficial towards providing digestive regularity and ending constipation because it is very high in dietary fiber. Some also claim that foods containing wheat bran provide a feeling of fullness. This claim may be true, since wheat bran tends to absorb water and expand in the digestive system.
The high oil content of bran makes it subject to rancidification, one of the reasons that it is often separated from the grain before storage or further processing. The bran itself can be heat-treated to increase its longevity.
Wheat bran cannot be stored like regular wheat flour. It tends to get rancid and is best stored in the refrigerator, especially if one plans to store it for long. Alternately, it may be stored in a vacuum-sealed canister at a moderate temperature. If you note that the wheat bran tastes bitter, it is probably rancid, and should be discarded.
Flaxseed is the seed of the flax plant, which is believed to have originated in Egypt. It grows throughout Canada and the northwestern United States. Flaxseed oil comes from flaxseeds.
Flaxseed is healthy for all age groups. It is one of nature’s richest sources of Omega-3, Lignans and Dietary Fibre which provide a number of health advantages.
Omega-3 fatty acids are important nutrients that are involved in many bodily processes. The body cannot make these fatty acids and must obtain them from food sources or from supplements.
Omega-3 supports cardiovascular (heart) health, supports a healthy immune system, and promotes healthy skin and hair.
It is important to note that omega-3 fatty acids are different from the omega-6 fatty acids, which are also essential. Unlike Omega-3s, Omega-6s are quite plentiful in the typical US diet.
Oils from some cold-water fish such as sardines, salmon, herring, mackerel, halibut, stripped bass, tuna, shark, and cod have high concentrations of Omega-3s (DHA and EPA). Flaxseed contains more alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3 or polyunsaturated fatty acid) than any other known plant source.
Many studies show that high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids significantly reduce the rate of sudden death after heart attack. These effects are thought to occur because Omega-3 fatty acids get directly into the cells of the heart, where they lower heart rate and also stabilize the heart’s rhythm.
If you are a vegetarian, consider more plant-based products that contain Omega-3 fatty acids. And when looking for the perfect cooking oil, choose canola oil, which has the most Omega-3 fatty acids. Flaxseed oil, ground flaxseed meal, and nuts and seeds are also important sources of Omega-3 fatty acids.
Lignans are found in a wide variety of plant-based foods including seeds, whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables. Flaxseeds are the richest dietary source of lignans. Diets rich in foods containing lignans are consistently associated with reductions in cardiovascular disease risk. Adding flaxseed to the usual diet decreases LDL cholesterol levels.
Lignans offer incredible health benefits for the prostate, bone and breast. Women should know lignans are a natural plant-based estrogen with strong antioxidant activity. Lignans also reduce menopausal symptoms.
Omega-3 supports cardiovascular (heart) health. Flaxseed is one of nature’s richest sources of Omega-3, Lignans, and Dietary Fibre.
Flaxseed contains more omega-3 than any other known plant source. Adding flaxseed to the usual diet decreases LDL cholesterol levels.
Heart disease is a leading cause of death for both men and women. It is characterized by a buildup of cholesterol-filled plaque in the coronary arteries (the arteries that feed the heart). This causes them to become hard and narrow. Total blockage of a coronary artery produces a heart attack.
Many studies show that high levels of Omega-3 significantly reduce the rate of sudden death after heart attack. These effects are thought to occur because Omega-3 fatty acids get directly into the cells of the heart, where they lower heart rate and also stabilize the heart’s rhythm.
Omega-3 has yielded promising results for a number of other diseases, including diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, inflammation, and mental diseases.
Flaxseed is healthy for all age groups. Infants who do not get enough Omega-3 from their mothers during pregnancy are at risk for developing vision and nerve problems.
The body cannot make Omega-3 fatty acids and must obtain them from food sources or from supplements.
Symptoms of Omega-3 deficiency include extreme tiredness, poor memory, dry skin, heart problems, mood swings or depression, and poor circulation.
Omega-6 and Omega-3 are two important essential fatty acids. Essential fatty acids are so-called for two reasons. They are essential to life and health. You and I must have them, but our bodies cannot manufacture them.
Omega-6 is the essential fatty acid in ample supply. According to experts, our current consumption of this fatty acid has doubled from what it was in 1940. Excess intake of Omega-6 can cause increased water retention, raised blood pressure and raised blood clotting.
By comparison, our intake of Omega-3 fatty acids has shrunk to one sixth of 1850 levels. Omega-6 is found in the primary oils added to most processed foods. Omega-3 and Omega-6 imbalance is responsible for many chronic heart conditions.
WE SHOULD REDUCE OUR CONSUMPTION OF OMEGA-6 FATTY ACIDS AND INCREASE OUR CONSUMPTION OF OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS.
The first step in achieving a healthy balance is to minimize the use of oils rich in Omega-6 fatty acids. Oils such as Corn, Sunflower, Safflower, Cottonseed, and Soybean oil are high in Omega-6. Many margarines, salad dressings and mayonnaise are made from these omega-6 rich oils. Again, many processed foods contain these and similar oils. Check the labels.
Omega-3 is found in Flax Seed Oil, Soybean Oil, and Canola Oil. Omega-3 is also found in cold-water fatty fish such as Salmon, Mackerel, Lake Trout, Herring, Sardines, and Albacore Tuna. Less potent sources are Walnuts, Dairy Products, Beans, and Broccoli.
Soybean oil is rich in both Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.
A 50g bowl of porridge (made with water) would provide:
• 34% RDA Phosphorus
• 19% RDA Calcium
• 18% RDA Vitamin B1
• 17% RDA Zinc
• 16% RDA Vitamin B2
• 12% RDA Vitamin B
• 67% RDA Iron
Oats are a good source of soluble fiber. A number of studies have shown that a diet which is low in fat and rich in soluble fiber can help reduce high blood cholesterol levels.
Oats have a low Glycaemic Index which means they are absorbed into the blood stream slowly helping to keep blood sugar levels stable. Many nutrition experts now believe choosing a diet based around carbohydrates with a low GI offers several health benefits.
Rolled Oats, which are commonly referred to as just “oats” are crushed grains of oat that have been rolled into flakes. The flakes are steam treated in order to soften them and make it easier for the body to digest the grains.
There are many different brands of oats, including some instant options. Oats are common breakfast dish and an excellent source of iron, dietary fiber and thiamin. They also contain antioxidants that are believed to protect the circulatory system from diseases such as arteriosclerosis, which affects the arterial blood vessel.
There are many variations of oats, and each one characterized according to the way in which they have been processed.
Fibre refers to carbohydrates that cannot be digested completely. Fibre is present in all plants that are eaten for food, including fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes.
Fibre may be categorized by how easily it dissolves in water. Soluble fibre partially dissolves in water. Insoluble fibre does not dissolve in water. These differences are important when it comes to fiber’s effect on your risk of developing certain diseases.
It is suggested that children and adults consume at least 20 grams of fibre per day from food, not supplements. The more calories you eat each day, the more fibre you need. Teens and men may require upwards of 30 to 35 grams per day or more. The average American eats only 15 grams of fibre a day.
Soluble fibre helps regulate blood sugar levels and reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes. Soluble fibre also helps lower cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart disease. Insoluble fibre helps move waste through the digestive track and aids laxation or constipation.
The fibre in wheat bran and oats seems to be more effective than similar amounts of fiber from fruits and vegetables. Experts recommend increasing fibre intake gradually rather than suddenly. As fiber intake is increased, the intake of beverages should also be increased, since fiber absorbs water.
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