NUTRITIONAL VALUE OF CEREALS

Nutrients that are best in the bowl of Cereals include fibre, protein, zinc, iron and B-vitamins. Eating a healthy and nutritive breakfast will provide you with the nutritional value your body needs. Before knowing the Nutritional value of cereals, let’s see what cereals actually are.

WHAT  ARE  CEREALS?

Cereal or cereal grains are the seeds of the grass family. The word cereal is derived from “ceres” Roman god of grain. The principal cereal crops are rice, wheat, maize, barley, jowar, corn.

Cereal is a staple food and is the major source of nutrition for human consumption worldwide. It is also used for the rearing of livestock. Wheat and rice are the most important cereal grown worldwide
Cereal improves the quality of pulse protein. They are an excellent source of starch and micronutrients. Cereal has an important role in the bakery industries as they are used as thickening agents, they are also used in the coating.
Cereals are grown worldwide as they are cheap to produce, and are easily stored and transported.

NUTRITIONAL VALUE OF CEREALS

Cereals grains are good source of energy and  it also provides sufficient amount of protein in the diet. Cereals are largely eaten as staple food worldwide due to its availability . Following are some of the nutritional value of cereals.

Energy

Cereals are an important and economic source of energy. A hundred grams of cereals supply 340 kilocalories of energy. Means a single chappati will provide you with 20-25gm of energy.

Carbohydrate

80% of the dry matter of cereals is a carbohydrate which is present in two forms of crude fibre and soluble carbohydrate. Crude fibre is mostly present in the outer layer of cereal called bran. It is generally excreted out of the body as it is not ingested by the body. Whole wheat, ragi and bajra are high in fiber content among cereals. Starch is the most important soluble carbohydrate. Along with the starch, it also contains a small quantity of glucose and sucrose.

Protein

Cereals provide 6-12% of protein and meet nearly half of the daily protein needs of human due to the large amounts consumed by the people. Protein content varies from cereal to cereal. It is present in very less amount in rice as compared to other cereals.
Though our half requirement of daily protein got completed from cereals but still it lacks an essential amino acid lysine, which makes cereal protein incomplete. This lack can easily be made up when cereals are eaten along with other protein foods such as dals or by adding a small amount of animal protein to the cereal-based diet.

Lipids or fats

The fat content of cereal grains is roughly 1-3%. Since the consumption of cereal is high, which helps to meet half of the daily requirement of essential fatty acids.

Minerals

As cereals provide a good amount of minerals which is adequate for half of the daily requirement it still lacks in calcium and sodium. Though the low amount of sodium and calcium is not an issue as it can be taken from the other sources of diet such as dairy and its product.
Basically minerals are present in the form of phosphates and sulphates. The Phosphorus is present as phytin and whole grain cereals have a high content of phytin . Phytin binds with nutrients and makes them unavailable for absorption. Phytin also reduces the availability of calcium absorption as they form an insoluble complex with calcium. Also, Phytin affects iron absorption as it reduces the bioavailability of non- haem iron. This binding leads to the problem for the development of bones also to the absorption of non- haem iron. To eliminate these problems phytate should be removed totally

Vitamins

Most of the vitamin is present in the bran(outer layer of cereal) . Bran contains a good amount of thiamin(vitamin B1) and riboflavin ( vitamin B2). Whole wheat flour has a higher amount of vitamin content than refined wheat flour. Cereals also contain vitamin E, magnesium and zinc in low amount. However, they lack vitamins A and C except for maize which contains some amount of carotene ( vitamin A).

Enzymes

Cereals contain many enzymes among which amylases, proteases and lipases are the most important.

TYPES OF GRAINS,WHOLE GRAINS AND CEREALS

Grains include wheat, barley, oats, rye, corn, rice, millet. These are also called staple cereals.
Whole-grain cereal include wholegrain bread, wholegrain breakfast cereals, brown rice, popcorn, oatmeal, quinoa, puffed whole grain.
Refined cereals include cake, white bread, pasta, sweet or savoury, muffins, biscuits, white rice, pancake, waffles, pizza.

SELECTION OF CEREAL GRAINS

The important points that are to be considered duering selection of Cereal grains are:

1. Physical quality: The cereal grain should be clean, free from infection, dust, stones, mud, sand, and stalks.
2. Suitability for cooking: Specific type of wheat flour may be required for making specific foods. Also, long-grained rice is often preferred as they do not form lumps on cooking.
3. Cereal grains should not be insect infected and no powdery mass should be seen.
4.Cereal grains should not have musty odour or should not be clumped.

HOW TO ADD CEREALS IN THE DIET

Cereals diet is the diet which is consumed by many. Cereal diet is a easy diet for early morning breakfast hussle. It is sometimes get difficult to add cereals in situations like diabetes, heart diseases also in the case of babies. Here is the ways to add cereals in diet

CEREALS IN BABY’S DIET

Introducing cereals to baby diet at the correct time is very much important. Once the infant is between four and six months of age,  you can start feeding the baby rice cereals by mixing the cereal flakes with milk. The familiar taste of milk helps them to accept the food. You can then introduce oats or barley cereals to the diet.
Make sure to introduce new food one at a time and in a small amount.

CEREALS IN KETO DIET

You can easily add keto-friendly cereals or low carbs cereals to your keto diet. Keto-friendly cereals are generally low in carbs and fats and have lots of fibre and some amount of protein. You can have coconut flour porridge, muesli cereals, granolas for your keto diet

CEREALS IN DIABETES

Adding cereals to diabetic patient diet is not a major problem. You can add diabetic-friendly cereals option that you can get easily in the market, without putting you through a blood sugar rollercoaster ride. You only have to concentrate on cereals which are low in glycemic index.
Glycemic index or GI is a relative ability of carbohydrate in the food that affect the blood glucose level. Foods having low GI will take time to digest, which helps in lowering the blood glucose level. Food with a GI rating 55 or less should be taken by the patient. For example Greek yoghurt, nuts, muesli.

EFFECT OF PROCESSING ON CEREAL GRAINS

Milling of cereals or processing is done to enhance the physical appearance of the cereals and to make it easy to digest nutrients from it.  Generally, processing is done to:-
– Improve the physical appearance, taste and texture of cereals.
– To make cereals easy to digest
– To improve the nutrient value of cereal grains.
-Also, To prevent the cereal grains from spoilage and bacterial and fungal growth.

Though processing is done to make the cereals last long and easy to digest but it also affects the nutritional value. As in the process of milling  the outer laye of bran and germ are removed which reduces the nutrient content of grain as the outer layer is rich in vitamins.
It also affects the glycaemic index as grinding reduces the particle size of the grain.
The final nutrient content of grain will depend on how much the outer layer is removed during the extraction process.
The grains which are highly milled like maize flour,white wheat flour are therefore less nutritive as they lost the outer layers.

IMPORTANCE OF CEREALS

Cereal grain are the major source of energy worldwide. It is eaten as a staple food. Most of the daily requirements of nutrition are fulfilled from the cereals. Cereals are important for the consumption as :-
– It reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases
– It reduces the risk of certain diseases such as colon cancer and diabetes
-Due to its high fiber content, whole grains and cereals helps to maintain a healthy digestive system and prevent constipation
– Wholegrain also helps in reducing weight loss, due to their low glycemic index.

BENEFITS OF WHOLE GRAIN CEREALS

Whole grain cereals are rich in vitamins and minerals and help in the digestion. The types of whole-grain cereal are:-
– High in resistant starch and soluble and insoluble fibre
– A good source of antioxidants which lowers the blood cholesterol
– Low in saturated fat
– Good source of magnesium, copper, zinc and phosphorus.
– Excellent source of carbohydrate

EFFECT OF COOKING ON NUTRITIVE VALUE OF CEREALS

Cooking is done to improve its digestibility and make it tasty and representable. Cooking also increases the absorption of many nutrients but sometimes due to over cooking it leads to the loss of nutrients in the food. Following are the ways to improve cooking to avoid nutrient loss:-
– Amount of water and time of cooking should be controlled according to requirement of the recipe, e.g while making rice/ pulao, addition of excessive water and cooking leads to  mushy end product.
– Excess use of water while boiling rice will lead to the loss of water soluble vitamins
– Techniques like simmering and poaching helps in the maintaining of nutrients which  may get lost due to heat sensitivity.

SUMMARY

Cereal grains are a good source of energy and carbohydrate which is essential for performing daily task but it also lacks in some nutrient . It also contain sufficient amount of protein , if eaten in a combination of cereal and pulse will provide adequate amount of protein. It is also a cheap source of energy which helps in sustaining and promoting good health. Like all other food groups , over consumption may leads to issues of digestion and also distrupts health.
The intake should be done in moderate  amount in a mixed diet.

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