Whole grains are made up of all parts of the grain–the bran (or fiber-rich outer layer), the endosperm (middle part) and the germ (the nutrient-rich inner part). Whole grains are living seeds that can sprout and grow!
When grains are milled, or refined, the bran and germ portions are removed, leaving only the endosperm. Whole grain foods contain all three layers of the grain. When you eat a variety of whole grain foods, you get the nutritional benefits of the entire grain.
Eating a variety of whole grains each day will help ensure that you get the nutrients needed to stay healthy. All types of grain foods are excellent sources of complex carbohydrates. Nutrition experts recommend that we eat most of our daily calories as carbohydrates, especially complex ones. They supply energy for daily activities. Whole grains are low in fat, and because they are from plants they have no cholesterol. They are high in fiber, plant protein, vitamins including B vitamins, vitamin E, and the minerals selenium, zinc, copper and magnesium, as well as phytonutrients, antioxidants, and many other healthful substances.
Whole grains also have soluble and insoluble fiber which may help prevent diseases from developing, lower blood cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar or improve immune function.