Whole grain fiber is a component of food that comes from grains that have not be refined in any way. Fiber is the part of plant based foods that cannot be digested and, therefore, assists with the absorption of nutrients and the passage of waste products in the human body. It is an essential part of a healthy, balanced diet and can help to prevent a number of different diseases and ailments. Whole grain foods contain more fiber than any other type of food, in addition to a number of other key nutrients.
To be classified as whole grain fiber, the original grain must not have been refined in a milling process. During milling, the germ and bran of the grain are removed, resulting in a processed or refined grain product. Processing removes many important nutrients, particularly fiber, but is performed to create a huge variety of different food products that are more appealing to the taste buds of many consumers. True whole grain fiber comes from just a few products such as brown rice, whole wheat pasta, simple popcorn, whole wheat bread and buckwheat.
In guidelines released annually by the American government, it is recommended that more than half of all grains consumed in a person's daily diet should be whole grains. This recommendation results from research suggesting that whole grain fiber helps to support a healthy weight, prevent diabetes, reduce the risk of heart disease, and prevent a number of different types of cancers. It also prevents constipation and numerous types of digestive tract issues.
Fiber reduces cholesterol levels in the blood and promotes the absorption of important minerals and vitamins in the intestinal tract. It also contributes to a feeling of fullness soon after the consumption of food that helps to prevent overeating and, therefore, the ingestion of excessive calories. As a result, people who consume adequate amounts of whole grain fiber are less likely to be obese or to suffer from heart disease.
Some foods are marketed as containing enriched grains, meaning that key nutrients have been added back to the product after the refinement process. Consumers should be aware that fiber cannot be added back to a grain once it has been removed, and thus these products will not contain the essential whole grain fiber necessary for a healthy diet. When purchasing products at the store, consumers should look for the first ingredient to be listed as whole wheat or whole grain.