Wheat is the most widely cultivated cereal crop in the world. Wheat has come to be a firm favourite grain because of the diversity it provides in culinary applications. They are low in fat, most of which is unsaturated and high in carbohydrate (mainly starch) and high in insoluble dietary fibre. Wheat is a healthy food source of multiple nutrients and dietary fiber recommended for children and adults. Wheat contains B-group vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), folate and pantothenic acid. It contains iron, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus and selenium. With rice, wheat is the world’s most favored staple food. It is a major diet component because of the wheat plant’s agronomic adaptability with the ability to grow from near arctic regions to equator, from sea level to plains of Tibet, approximately 4,000 m (13,000 ft) above sea level.Wheats are relatively high in protein (11-13%) compared with other major grains and contains a protein complex which forms sodium. When Wheat is milled into flour, it is used to make a wide range of foods including crackers, sauces, cereal bars, sweet and savoury snack foods, pasta, noodles, etc.
Oats are a cereal commonly eaten in the form of oatmeal or rolled oats. Mainly, they are eaten as an ingredient in breakfast cereals. Over the past few decades, oats have become a very popular “health food”. Oats are loaded with dietary fiber (containing more than many other grains) and have a range of healthy cholesterol-lowering properties.Oats almost never have their bran and germ removed in processing so most food products containing ‘oats’, ‘oat flour’ or ‘oatmeal’ as an ingredient contain wholegrain oats.Oats are naturally rich in beta-glucan – a soluble fibre found in the bran and endosperm layer of the oat grain. Beta-glucan helps to improve blood glucose control after a meal. It also improves insulin responses as well as decrease cholesterol levels.Oats have innumerable health benefits due to the nutritional vales that they possess. They help in preventing cardiovascular disease, keeping blood sugar levels in control, reduce risk of cancer, help in weight loss because of its low-calorie content and slow digestion and it also enhances the immune system. Oats are high in carbohydrates (mainly starch). The protein in oats are higher than other cereals at around 14%. It is high in soluble dietary fibre, specifically beta-glucan found mainly in the aleurone and sub aleurone layers.
Corn is also known as maize which is one of the sweetest tasting grains and it is the familiar yellow corn on the cob. Moreover, it is used to make grain foods like breakfast cereal. Corn is unique in that it cannot reproduce itself without the aid of humans – its seeds cannot be released because they are tightly wrapped around the ear. Wild corn has never been found and domesticated corn was probably developed through hybridization. Corn is high in carbohydrate (mainly starch) and dietary fibre. It is higher in fat (4-5%) compared to other grains, with the fat being mostly unsaturated. Corns are lower in protein (around 9%) and has a lower vitamin and mineral content than other grains. Moreover, they are high in potassium and low in sodium. Importantly, it is gluten free and yellow corn contains beta-carotene.When compared to other grains, corn has a higher concentration of plant sterols.
Barley is a whole grain which doubles in size when it is cooked and it is packed with nutrients. It doubles in size when it cooks, so keep that in mind when reading the nutrition facts. Barley was one of the first grains to be widely cultivated. The consumption of barley was replaced by wheat and rye when leavened bread became popular. While having a lower gluten content, the application of barley in the production of bread is limited. Moreover, today in developed countries, fewer people eat barley. Barley is low in fat and high in carbohydrate and it has a moderate protein content. It contains a protein complex which forms gluten. Moreover, barley is high in soluble fibre, especially beta-glucan, which is found in the endosperm and aleurone cell walls. It has a low glycemic index to assist blood glucose control.
Millets are cereal crops widely used in African and Asian countries. For centuries it remained the leading grain. It is one of the hardiest grains and is therefore a staple food in regions with poor soils where other grains will not grow at all (e.g. parts of India, Africa, China and Russia). This legacy persists in the Chinese language, where the signs for ‘millet’ and ‘mouth’ together make the word ‘harmony’. Millet is low in fat and high in carbohydrate and it is a good source of dietary fibre. As it is gluten free, it is used mostly as a whole grain. To bring out the full flavour, it is often mixed with other grains or toasted before cooking. Moreover, it has a mild flavour which works well with other foods. Millet is another gluten-free seed with high nutritional value. Millets are high in fiber and low on carbohydrates and B vitamins and also an excellent source of protein. It is an excellent source of protein and is high in fiber, low on carbs and B vitamins. Millet is high in magnesium which gives the seed heart-protecting properties.