Bran power!

NUTRITIOUS DIET

In a primarily cereal consuming country like India, wheat is most favoured due to its multi-faceted quality. There is wheat flour (ata), broken wheat (dalia), semolina (rava) and maida - the most refined form of wheat flour. Wheat has made its presence known in majority of our meals and snacks.


However, being a staple food, not many are aware of the health benefits of this oft-eaten and humble cereal. Whole wheat has bran or choker - a natural fibre important for digestive health. The bran is available in varying quantities in each of the wheat products
mentioned above. 

Wheat bran is a thin covering of the wheat kernel present inside the husk. During milling of wheat, this outer bran layer is removed and the starch rich endosperm is milled to yield wheat flour. So while refined flour (maida) may be visually appealing and lend a texture to certain foods, whole wheat with the bran is extremely important for health.
Wheat bran contains insoluble fibre, namely cellulose, in greater quantity than even oat and rice.  Scientific evidence shows that wheat bran is the best cereal fibre for bulking up stools and stimulating bowel movement. Besides, the bran also contains a gamut of minerals like calcium, selenium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus as well as vitamins E and B complex.
Experts stress that whole wheat along with its bran is nature’s very own package enclosing fibre, vitamins and minerals necessary for starch digestion and utilisation.
Leading nutritionist and National IDA President Dr Rekha Sharma says, “Often, the wheat we get in markets is in the form of bran-less flour. Ideally, one should buy wheat grains with the bran and get it grounded in a mill. If that’s difficult, then look for whole wheat bran rich flour.”

“These days, wheat bran is also available separately in packets. What you can do is that while preparing roti, parantha or upma, sprinkle some amount of wheat bran on it. Also use wheat bran while preparing biscuits, waffles, cookies, pancakes and muffins. A small amount of wheat bran can be added to smoothies, especially when it is finely powdered.”
You would often find wheat bran as an ingredient in energy and health bars as well. Wheat bran containing breakfast cereals can provide a great start to a long and hectic day ahead.

Dr Rekha though adds a word of caution, “Wheat bran has many benefits and a sweet taste, but take care not to overdo it. A little too much can easily translate to diarrhoea. Further, as with all wheat products, those who have celiac disease, should stay away from it.”  

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