Food GuidesWhole Grains

Whole Grain Guide

After fruits and vegetables, whole grains are a major food group. It mainly provides energy in addition to vitamins and minerals. Which whole grains are best? What are the healing grains? What is the best cooking method? How much should you eat? Let’s learn in this guide.

What is Whole Grain?

Grains with bran, endosperm and germ are called whole grains. There is no part removed from these grains.

BranOuter Layer
EndospermMiddle Layer
GermSeed Core
  1. Bran: Bran is a kind of fibre. It is a rich source of vitamin b complex, minerals (iron, copper, zinc, magnesium), antioxidants and phytochemicals. Antioxidants and phytochemicals prevent disease. Bran prevents the sudden rise of glucose in the blood after eating grains. It also helps to maintain lower cholesterol and cleanses the gut by moving wastes.
  2. Endosperm: It contains proteins and carbohydrates. It also has a small amount of vitamin B and minerals. It provides energy and major nutrients to our body. Refined grains only contain endosperm.
  3. Germ: It contains healthy fats, vitamin B complex, vitamin E, antioxidants, and phytochemicals. It provides similar benefits like bran.

Key Recommendation

  1. Variety: Include a variety of whole grains in your diet.
  2. Intact Whole Grains: Eat more intact whole grains. We recommend eating 75% to 100% of the total grain’s servings in the form of intact whole grains. If it is not possible, eat more than 50% of total grain’s servings in the form of intact whole grains.
  3. Whole Grain Flour: Eat less food made of grain flour. Flour should contain bran, and it should be made of whole grains. We recommend eating 0 to 25% of total grain’s servings from whole grain flour. If it is not possible, eat less than 50% of total grain’s servings from the whole grain flour. Mix whole grain flour with 10% of bran. For example, mix 1 Kg of Wheat Bran in 10 Kg of whole wheat flour.
  4. Knead in Vegetable Puree: If you eat chapati, knead whole grain dough with seasonal vegetables (except spinach, swiss green, beet greens, and vegetables with high oxalate content). Do not use water for kneading the flour.
  5. Avoid Refined Grains: Do not eat refined grains and food made of refined grain flour. For example, avoid white rice, white bread, white flatbread, chapati made of white flour etc.
Grain’s Eating Guide for Better Health

Recommended & Acceptable Whole Grains

There are two lists – Recommended and Acceptable.

  1. Recommended (Healing Whole Grains): We recommended eating these grains most of the time. These grains are health-promoting and prevent diseases.
  2. Acceptable: You can also eat without any issue. These grains will have neutral effects on health.

Recommended Whole Grains

The recommended whole grains or Healing Whole Grains are rich in fibre, protein, antioxidants and several other nutrients. Healing whole grains are the most recommended grains in our list. These grains possess strong scavenging (antioxidant) capacity as compared to acceptable grains and whole wheat.

  1. Sorghum (Jowar).
  2. Barley.
  3. Amaranth (Rajgira).
  4. Teff (red, brown, and white)
  5. Farro (Ancient Wheat Grains)
    1. Emmer (Farro piccolo).
    2. Einkorn (Farro piccolo).
    3. Spelt (Farro grande).
  6. Barnyard Millet.
  7. Foxtail Millet.
  8. Kodo Millet.
  9. Little Millet.
  10. Browntop Millet.
  11. Buckwheat.
  12. Oats.
  13. Rye.
  14. Quinoa.
  15. Bulgur (cracked wheat).

How to Eat Healing Grains:

Enjoy these grains with legume curries or boiled vegetables. There is no restriction on how you eat these grains.

Acceptable Whole Grains

  • Red Rice
  • Black Rice.
  • Brown Rice.
  • Wild Rice.
  • Finger Millet (Ragi).
  • Pearl Millet (Bajra).
  • Proso Millet (Baragu).
  • Durum wheat.
  • Whole wheat with 10% bran.
  • Maize (corn, popcorn).

Kneading in Vegetable Puree:

Kneading acceptable grains in vegetable puree also make them healing grains. You should not use water while kneading. You can use vegetable juice or vegetable puree while making dough for chapatis. This process is best for using whole grain flours.

How to Eat Acceptable Grains:

Acceptable grains are best taken with boiled vegetables. These grains should not be taken with legumes or their curries.

Daily Recommended Amount

Whole grains are important for energy. You should eat it in the daily recommended amount. According to the plate principle, 25% of your plate should consist of whole grains. It means 25% of your diet should consist of whole grains.

Standard Serving Size for Grains

Whole Grains1 Serving Size equal to:
Whole Grains (cooked) in general *100 g (approx. ½ cup)
Chapati or Flat Bread **½ big chapati (approx. 40 g) or 1 small chapati (approx. 40 g)
Bread (wholemeal) ***1 slice (approx. 40 g)
Pasta (boiled)A half-cup (around 100 grams)
Popped Popcorn3 cups
Porridge (boiled in water)120 g


  1. * Whole grains (cooked) include Barley, Brown rice, Buckwheat, Cracked Wheat, Whole wheat, Millets (all types), Oats, Quinoa, etc. Whole grains in their intact form are highly recommended. You should pre-soak these grains for at least 4 hours. The ratio of water and grains should be 2.5:1. You can take 2.5 cups of water and 1 cup of whole grains. Boil water with grains and then cook on low flame until they become soft.
  2. ** Homemade chapatis (roti) made of whole-grain flour are preferable and highly recommended. Choose wholemeal flatbread that contains more than 50% of whole-grain flour.
  3. *** Bread is least acceptable. Choose wholemeal bread that is made of more than 50% of whole-grain flour.

Recommended Grains Servings

According to age group, you should choose the recommended daily servings:

Age GroupMaleFemale
1-34 servings4 servings
4-84 servings4 servings
9-115 servings4 servings
12-136 servings5 servings
14-187 servings7 servings
19-306 servings6 servings
31-505 servings5 servings
51-705 servings4 servings
70+4 servings3 servings
Pregnant8 servings
Lactating9 servings

How to Cook Whole Grains

  1. Wash whole grains well before soaking. Soak whole grains for at least 4 hours before cooking. Use the same water in which grains are soaked for cooking the grains.
  2. Generally, the ratio of water and most whole grains is 2.25:1 (2 ¼ cups water + 1 cup whole grains).
  3. Take 2 ¼ cups of water in a pan and 1 cup of whole grains.
  4. Bring it to boil, then cook on low flame until the water gets absorbed and grains become soft and eatable.

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Dr. Jagdev Singh

Dr. Jagdev Singh (B.A.M.S., M. Sc. in Medicinal Plants) is an Ayurvedic Practitioner and Herbalist. He has successfully treated thousands of patients with Ayurveda (including Herbal Ayurvedic Medicine and Ayurvedic Diet). Ayur Times is an initiative of his efforts to bring quality information on Indian Medicine with the highest level of relevancy and scientific evidence.
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