Cereals and derived products are the main food in many cultures. In fact, they are one of the most important cornerstones of the Mediterranean Diet. They belong to the group of foods that are carbohydrate-rich, but they are not the only nutrient they provide us. We are going see everything they supply in our daily diet.
Source of nutrients
Cereals are a source of important nutrients for our health. By nutrients we don’t just mean the well-known carbohydrates, they are also an important source of protein, fats, fibre, minerals, and vitamins.
The amount of these nutrients they contain varies according to the type of cereal we consume.
What are whole grains?
Whole grains are the cereals that most conserve the nutritional properties of this vital foodstuff. They will have more nutrients if more parts of the grain are preserved when they are eaten.
Let’s see the different parts of cereals:
- Bran: also known as pericarp. This is the external part of the grain and here we find the fibre (mostly cellulose), vitamins in the B group, and minerals such as zinc, iron, calcium, and magnesium.
- Seed: also known as endosperm. This is very rich in starch and protein. Here we find the most amino acids (compounds formed by proteins).
- Germ: this is the inner layer of the grain. Here we find some fatty acids, some protein, and, once again, a good amount of vitamins (especially vitamin E), and minerals.
There are numerous studies that demonstrate that consuming whole grains has health benefits.. They may contain more nutrients because they are richer in minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins.
For every taste
There are many types of cereals and each one has its own unique features. What’s more, globalisation has further extended the market offer we can access. Currently, this group includes new foods from other countries which were previously unknown or had a smaller market.
In the cereal group we find: wheat, triticale, barley, sorghum, rice, oats, rye, amaranth, buckwheat, maize, millet… These can all yield multiple derivatives, such as flour, rice pasta, bread, breakfast cereals, pizza dough, biscuits, pastries…
Cereals for everyone
Now we know the nutritional benefits, the varieties, and the ways we can eat them, the question is: are they suitable for all stages of life?
The answer is: yes. Cereals are a food that starts to form part of our diet from a very young age. When different groups are introduced in complementary feeding, from the age of 6 months, it becomes possible to incorporate cereals into the daily diet. And from that moment, except in specific cases, they can form part of everyone’s diet. They must be in athletes’ diets due to their energy supply, in children’s due to their variety of nutrients and the acceptance of their flavour, in older people’s due to their amounts of fibre, in pregnant or breastfeeding women’s, etc. The difference between them will be the amount they must consume, which will also depend on the physical activity each person does.
And what if I want to lose weight? Well, you can also consume them. Cereals form part of a balanced diet. This includes all foods in moderate amounts and this food group is also recommended in being able to maintain a healthy weight. And whole grains are a perfect partner in weight loss plans. Their fibre can have a filling effect, but their nutritional variety is also necessary for our daily diet.
So, how are you going to eat cereals today? To celebrate World Cereal Day, we want to recommend some No Sugar Added Whole Grain oaty biscuits. We’re going to pay tribute to these foodstuffs on their day!