Whole Grain Nutrition

Did you know?

As soon as you break open a kernel of grain and expose it to the air, the contents of the grain begin to oxidize and spoil just like any other fresh food.  Whole wheat flour begins to lose nutrients during the milling process. Most modern commercial mills also destroy many nutrients because of the high heat generated in the milling process.  That is why the whole wheat flour you buy at the store can sit on the shelf for months. Refined flour has a long shelf life because many of the nutrients that can spoil have been removed.  Similarly, the flaked oats you buy on the store shelf have already undergone processing (steaming and drying) to prevent spoilage. They are then dried out before packaging.

Bleached refined white flour not only has added toxins, it also has had many of the nutrients removed. By law, refined white flour must have iron and three vitamins added back in. But these ‘enriched’ nutrients are not the natural grain nutrients that have been removed. Unbleached refined flour removes some of the toxins, but not the loss of nutrients. What do you lose when you use refined white flour?  You lose 77.87% of the fiber, much of the vitamins, minerals, amino acids, all of the beta carotene, and 92% of the lutein. What do you gain in bleached white refined flour?  You gain the percentage of carbohydrate and pure energy that spikes your blood sugar level followed by a dramatic drop in blood sugar levels.  This increases your hunger. Check out our Wheat Table and our Oat Table for a detailed analysis of the difference between processed grains and fresh grains.

Most refined wheat products also have chemicals and other unpronounceable additives that are unnatural and may damage your health. Just read the labels on the bread you purchase at the store.  When we begin to artificially process and genetically modify our foods in order to accommodate our modern lifestyles, we always run the risk of reducing the wholesome goodness of natural food.

To receive the full nutrition of whole grains, you must keep the grain in the kernel until you are ready to use it. There are over 30 essential nutrients and vitamins in freshly ground wheat flour. The embryo or germ of the grain is one of the richest sources of vitamins and minerals. It is particularly high in antioxidants such as vitamin E. The best way to get the most of this rich nutritional source is by freshly milling your own wheat just prior to baking.  

The difference between fresh grains and processed grains is easily visible. For example, fresh flaked oats still have the brown color of the soft bran unlike processed oats which are white, dry and fluffy.  The freshly flaked oats still have all their moisture and oil which retains 100% of the nutrition and flavor.

Fresh ground wheat and oat products have a wonderful flavor that you and your family will enjoy. If you like fresh ground coffee, then you will love fresh ground wheat and other grains or fresh rolled oats. Fresh is best for both taste and nutrition. 

Not only are freshly milled grains a great source of vitamins and nutrients, they also have fresh fiber to cleanse your digestive tract. The bran of the grain is the waxy outer coat (the epicarp) that further protects the nutrition in the grain. Although it has little or no nutritional value, the bran is an important source of fiber. Fiber serves as a scrub brush to clean and maintain the lining of the intestinal tract. It also helps to maintain a balanced and regular stool for the elimination of the waste products of digestion. Other parts of the grain also include both soluble and insoluble fiber to aid elimination.

The endosperm is the section of the grain that holds the starch. Without the nutrients of fresh whole grains, the starch does not activate the whole digestive process of the body. It simply turns into sugar and is released into the bloodstream. Once this sugar energy is distributed to the body (with excess sugar stored as fat), the blood sugar level falls dramatically. This causes great stress on the body, especially those who are diabetic. Fresh ground or rolled whole grains do not spike your blood sugar levels like high carb foods (i.e. refined flour) leaving you hungry soon afterwards.

A note on wheat intolerance

Some people who think they are intolerant of wheat are intolerant of highly processed and refined wheat products rather than the grain itself. With your own mill, there are many ways those who are possibly wheat intolerant can add fresh whole grains back into their diets. Many who are wheat intolerant can eat spelt grain with no reaction. Corn (yellow maize) provides a healthy gluten free alternative that uses whole grain instead of highly processed unnatural ingredients. Even many of those clinically diagnosed with celiac disease can have the full nutrition of fresh grains through fresh rolled oats and oat flour. More and more research and celiac organizations are adding pure oats to their approved lists for celiacs. The only way  we know that you can have pure oats is to start with the pure grain and flake the oats yourself