Basically, whole grains are nutritionally worthless unless they have their three key components. Most of the major nutrients are found in the bran and germ, which are commonly removed during grain processing.
The bran is the outer casing of the kernel containing multiple layers. The bran is extremely high in fiber, minerals, and vitamins.
In fact, a one cup serving of bran includes a little less than 25 g of fiber. This is close to 100 percent of your daily fiber intake.
The bran is an excellent source of the B vitamins thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B6 and folate. B vitamins perform a variety of duties including maintaining healthy skin, hair, and muscles and aid in the function of the immune system, nervous system, and metabolism. The bran contains upwards of 40 percent of the advised intake of these vitamins in a one cup serving.
Also, the bran provides large amounts of the vital minerals manganese, iron, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, and selenium.
The bran contains significant levels of quality proteins. In order to be a complete protein there has to be 9 essential amino acids. However, combining the bran with another food source, such as dairy, will make a complete protein.
The germ is the innermost portion of the grain. It is technically an embryo because it has the ability to sprout into a new plant. The germ contains B vitamins, protein, minerals, and the germ oil which has extremely high vitamin E content.
The grain germ is an excellent supply of multiple B vitamins. It is particularly high in thiamin (B1), which helps the cells convert carbohydrates into energy. It also aids in muscle contraction and nerve conduction.
Germ is also a good source of quality protein but must be combined with other food sources to be complete.
The germ contains significant quantities of the minerals manganese and selenium providing more than the daily recommended amount in a one cup serving.
In the germ is the germ oil which contains the largest amount of vitamin E than any other unfortified food. In fact, one ounce of germ oil contains over 40g of vitamin E.
Common Bread Additives
In order to create appealing products, companies inject their breads with chemicals to add flavor, enhance texture, or to preserve. However, the sources and nature of these additives should be under tight scrutiny.
Commonly used as a dough conditioner to create a soft texture. This additive is an amino acid derived primarily from human hair. However, when the supply runs low it is also sourced from hog hair or duck feathers.
These additives are used as bread emulsifiers because they keep oils from separating out of the bread and therefore increase shelf life and prevent it from going stale. Mono and diglycerides come from a fat molecule. Fat molecules come in a triglyceride format where three fatty-acids are attached to a glycerol molecule. Undergoing a process, mono and diglycerides are either one or two fatty-acids connected to a glycerol molecule.
Potassium bromate is a maturing agent added to breads for strength, rising, and reduced mixing times. This additive is shown to be carcinogenic and is banned in Europe, Australia, China, Brazil, Canada, and even the state of California.
Most commonly used in fertilizers, this chemical is added into breads as a rising agent. Other everyday uses include an ingredient in flame-retardants and fire-extinguisher powder. In fact, in 2009 ammonium sulfate was banned in Pakistan because this chemical was an ingredient in explosives used by militants.
Sodium Stearoyl Lactate
This is a common texture enhancer and emulsifier for bread products. It may aggravate digestive problems in those with lactose intolerance.
This additive acts as a preservative in bread products. However, it is known to create allergic reactions and sleep problems. One research study observed when children consumed this additive over a long period of time may have caused restlessness, sleep disturbances, and irritability. These behaviors were reversed when the additives were removed from the foods.
Processed bread products are not only nutrient deficient, but contain harmful additives. Making homemade flour and bread products at home is a for-sure way to completely eliminate these chemicals from your diet.