Healthy Whole Grains List, Healthiest Chart, Daily Allowance Guide

Health authorities and Governments around the world have promoted the need to include wholegrain foods in your diet as wholegrains have a proven range of health benefits, and processed foods have been linked with the obesity epidemic.

Most people simply don't understand how wholegrains are beneficial, how to use them, and how much to eat. However raw wholegrains and foods are hard to find as the labeling is often very confusing.

► Which grains are the healthiest?

► How much wholegrain food should you eat to get the benefits?

► What is a standard serving for a wholegrain food?

► What types of wholegrains are available and where can you get them?

These questions and many others are answered by this review article.

Most of the healthy nutrients in wheat are in the bran and germ which are removed when grain is processed
Most of the healthy nutrients in wheat are in the bran and germ which are removed when grain is processed | Source
It is hard to get enough whole grains in the diet as the supermarket shelves are stuffed full of the processed stuff.
It is hard to get enough whole grains in the diet as the supermarket shelves are stuffed full of the processed stuff. | Source
Can't get enough of the good whole grain stuff
Can't get enough of the good whole grain stuff | Source
Whole grains pack their goodness in the bran and germ of the grains
Whole grains pack their goodness in the bran and germ of the grains | Source
There are a wide range of whole grain rice varieties to choose from, if you can find them
There are a wide range of whole grain rice varieties to choose from, if you can find them | Source

Why are Whole Grains Healthy and What Happens during Processing?

Generally, each individual whole grain has three parts:

  1. The bran – the outer layer of the grain, that is rich in fiber an nutrients
  2. The endosperm – the main part of the grain that contains most of the starch and carbohydrate
  3. The germ – the active part of the grain located inside the endosperm, which is the part that grows when the grain is watered. The endosperm is the energy reserve used by the plant to grow and become established.

During processing one or more of these parts removed (mostly the bran and germ). As shown in the image above the bran and germ are the most nutritious parts.Processing wheat grains into white flour essentially produces a flour that is mostly starch and carbohydrate.

Most people don't understand the health benefits wholegrains have to offer. How much should you eat?

What Types of Whole Grains are Available and What Foods are Wholegrain?

The table below list the common grains and foods. Some of these grains may be hard to find. Check out your local health food store.

Healthiest Grains - Overall Ranking

The ranked listing of the healthiest grains has been produced using an overall health scoring scale. A table comparing the nutrients in common grains for a 100g serve is provided at the end of the article.

The levels of major nutrients are shown for 1/4 cup of dry, raw whole grains. The rating is subjective and it depends on what you are after - protein, fiber, low fat, vitamins, etc.

Quinoa
Per 1/4 cup of dry grain, quinoa has 120 calories, 7g of protein and 31g of carbohydrate

Rice
Per 1/4 cup of Long grain brown rice contains 160 calories, 5g of protein and 39g of carbohydrate

Rye
Per 1/4 cup of dry grain, rye contains 160 calories, 5g of protein and 39g of carbohydrate

Teff
Per 1/4 cup of dry grain, teff contains 200 calories, 6g of protein and 35g of carbohydrate

Millet
Per 1/4 cup of dry grain, millet contains 150 calories, 3g of protein and 24g of carbohydrate

Buckwheat
Per 1/4 cup of dry grain, buckwheat contains 146 calories, 6g of protein and 30g of carbohydrate

Amaranth
Per 1/4 cup of dry grain, amaranth has 180 calories, 7g of protein and 31g of carbohydrate

Spelt
Per 1/4 cup of dry grain, spelt contains 130 calories, 6g of protein and 30g of carbohydrate

Oats
Per 1/4 cup of dry grain, whole oats have 170 calories, 6g of protein and 30 g of carbohydrate

Sorghum
Per 1/4 cup of whole grain, sorghum contains 160 calories, 5g of protein and 36g of carbohydrate

Wheat
Per 1/4 cup of dry grain, Whole Wheat has 100 calories, 4g of protein and 25g of carbohydrate

What Constitutes One Serving of Wholegrain?

The table below summarizes the serving size and typical meals that provide 6 standard serves of wholegrains.

Standard Servings of Wholegrains

One Serving of Grain
Meals with 6 Servings of Grains
1 slice bread
Breakfast: 1 cup cooked porridge
1/2 cup cooked pasta, rice, noodles, barley, quinoa, buckwheat
Lunch: 2 slices wholegrain bread
1/2 cup cooked porridge
Afternoon: 3 wholegrain crispbreads
1/4 cup muesli
3 wholegrain crispbreads
2/3 cup wheat flakes
Dinner: 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
3 crispbreads
1/2 cup cooked brown rice
1 crumpet
 

How Much Wholegrain Food Should You Eat

The table below provides a guide to the recommended amounts.

Recommended Minimum Consumption Rates for Wholegrains for Health Benefits

Gender
Age
Number of serves of grain foods daily
Girls
2-11 years
4
Girls
12-13 years
5
Girls
14-18 years
7
Boys
2-8 years
4
Boys
9-11 years
5
Boys
12-13 years
6
Boys
14-18 years
7
Pregnant Woman
 
8
Breastfeeding Woman
 
9
Women
19-50 years
6
Women
51-70 years
4
Women
70+ years
3
Men
19-70 years
6
Men
70+ years
4 1/2

List of Whole Grain Varieties and Common Wholegrain Foods

Whole Grain Varieties
Whole Grain Foods
Amaranth
Whole Wheat Cereal Flakes
Barley
Muesli
Brown Rice
Whole Wheat Cereal Flakes
Brown Rice Bread
Whole Grain Barley
Brown Rice Tortilla
Wheat Berries
Buckwheat
Whole Grain Cornmeal
Bulgur (Cracked Wheat)
Whole Rye
Farro / Emmer
Whole Wheat Bread
Flaxseed
Whole Wheat Couscous
Fonio
Whole Wheat Crackers
Freekeh
Whole Wheat Pasta
Grano
Whole Wheat Pita Bread
Indian rice grass
Whole Wheat Sandwich Buns And Rolls
Kamut
Whole Wheat Tortillas
Millet
 
Oats
 
Oat Bread
 
Oat Cereal
 
Oatmeal
 
Popcorn
 
Rolled Oats
 
Quinoa
 
Red Rice
 
Rye
 
Rye Berries (whole grains)
 
Sorghum
 
Spelt
 
Teff
 
Triticale
 
Wheat berries (Whole Wheat)
 
Wild Rice
 

Comparison of Nutrients in Common Whole Grains

Nutrient (Serving Size 100g)
barley, pearled
corn, yellow
millet
oats
quinoa
rye
wheat
rice, brown, cooked
Calories (Cal)
352
364
378
390
369
338
340
111
Protein (g)
9.92
9.42
11.02
16.90
14.20
10.34
13.69
2.58
Total Fat (g)
1.16
4.75
4.22
6.90
6.11
1.63
2.48
0.90
Total Carbs (g)
77.72
74.27
72.84
66.28
64.54
75.86
71.13
22.96
Dietary Fiber (g)
15.60
7.23
8.40
10.51
7.10
15.15
 
1.85
Sugar (g)
0.80
0.65
 
 
 
0.97
 
0.35
Vitamins
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
Vitamin C (mg)
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
 
0.00
0.00
0.00
Thiamin (mg)
0.19
0.39
0.42
0.76
0.36
0.32
0.42
0.10
Riboflavin (mg)
0.11
0.20
0.29
0.14
0.32
0.25
0.12
0.02
Niacin (mg)
4.60
3.63
4.72
0.96
1.53
4.27
6.74
1.53
Pantoth. Acid (mg)
0.28
0.42
0.85
1.35
0.78
1.46
0.94
0.29
Vitamin B6 (mg)
0.26
0.62
0.38
0.12
0.49
0.29
0.42
0.14
Folate (mcg)
24.00
19.28
84.00
56.41
184.62
37.87
43.75
4.10
Vitamin B12 (mcg)
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
Vitamin A (IU)
22
214
0
0
14
12
0
0
Vitamin E (mg)
0.02
0.48
0.06
 
2.46
0.85
 
0.03
Vitamin K (mcg)
2.20
0.24
1.00
 
0.00
5.92
 
0.62
Minerals
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
Calcium (mg)
28.00
7.23
8.00
53.85
47.34
23.67
33.33
10.26
Iron (mg)
2.50
2.70
3.00
4.72
4.59
2.63
3.52
0.42
Magnesium (mg)
80.00
127.71
114.00
176.92
198.82
108.88
143.75
43.08
Phosphorus (mg)
220.00
209.64
284.00
523.08
459.17
331.36
508.33
83.08
Potassium (mg)
280.00
286.75
196.00
428.21
565.68
508.88
431.25
43.08
Sodium (mg)
8.00
36.14
4.00
2.56
4.73
2.37
2.08
5.13
Zinc (mg)
2.12
2.22
1.68
3.97
3.12
2.65
4.17
0.63
Copper (mg)
0.42
0.31
0.75
0.63
0.59
0.37
0.55
0.10
Manganese (mg)
1.32
0.48
1.63
4.92
2.04
2.58
3.01
0.90
Selenium (mcg)
37.80
15.42
2.80
 
8.52
13.96
89.38
9.85
Fatty Acids
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
Saturated Fat (g)
0.24
0.67
0.72
1.22
0.71
0.20
0.45
0.18
Monounsat. Fat (g)
0.15
1.25
0.77
2.18
1.62
0.21
0.34
0.33
Polyunsat. Fat (g)
0.56
2.16
2.13
2.54
3.31
0.00
0.98
0.32

© 2013 Dr. John Anderson

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Comments 1 comment

Pauline Davenport profile image

Pauline Davenport 3 years ago from Isle of Man

I like this Hub. It's so informative and from my vegetarian daughter's point of view ( well mine on her behalf really) it's good to know the protein content of each of the grains, as I do find it worry that she isn't getting enough protein in her diet, especially now that she's breastfeeding our little Lily.

I have used a lot of the grains in this hub, especially the quinoa, which is so versatile, and I'm inspired to look out and try the unfamiliar ones.

Thanks very much for this janderson99- it's a boon to my kitchen

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    Dr. John Anderson (janderson99)752 Followers
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    Dr John uses his Biochemistry & Physiology research background (PhD) to develop authoritative reviews of dieting, weight loss, obesity, food



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