Since ancient times, cereals have been important in human nutrition , where rice, wheat, and corn were the first to be processed to make flours and oils.

In this sense, it is recommended to consume cereals , since they can be included in salads , breads, desserts, entrees and drinks. These versatile foods don’t just taste great; but they provide many nutrients to the body.

For this reason, in this article we will explain in detail the different types of cereals and their properties for the human body, so that you can learn about their benefits and include them in your diet.

What are cereals?

Cereals are fruits and berries of plants that go through a ripening and drying process. They are usually grain fruits that are harvested in spikes, which have been very important in the diet, mainly in that of the Mediterranean and Caribbean peoples.

Likewise, to cultivate them , adequate humidity and temperature are required , so that the seeds are capable of germinating, being a great source of amino acids , vitamins and natural anti-inflammatories. In addition, they are fibrous carbohydrates for the body, since they do not have sodium or polyunsaturated fats.

Important: A study in Spain on cereals revealed that they are foods with a high fiber content, containing bioactive compounds, vitamins, minerals, polyphenols and carotenoids. These are found in the germ and bran. (1)

What are the different types of cereals?

Different types of cereals are consumed around the world . These are used in desserts, dishes, and even in beauty rituals and natural medicine. Next we will explain its classification and properties:

1. Refined

This is the most consumed and commercial type of cereal. They are characterized by taking the seeds to a process of extraction of the bran and the germ. This gives it a finer, more delicate and simple texture , which allows a much longer conservation time.

However, the main negative factor of this kind of cereal is that the processes cause loss of nutrients , wasting almost 99% of its fiber and it becomes a complex carbohydrate, which is difficult for the digestive system to digest.

2. Integrals

Whole grains are the most natural and recommended by health specialists, since they do not go through any process, but on the contrary, the bran and germ are preserved. They usually keep their hard crust and all the pulp. They are not taken to grinding or crushing.

Note: Another benefit of whole grains is that they are healthy, delicious and rich in vitamins A and C. They usually retain all the fiber, potassium, magnesium and selenium. So they are useful for the gastrointestinal and lymphatic system, since they are excellent cleansers. The most consumed of this type are oats, corn and quinoa.

3. Enriched

Fortified cereals tend to have an artificial supply of vitamins and minerals . They do not usually have fiber, since it is not recovered. They are a type of cereal that is very commercial and consumed throughout the world. 

To highlight: A wide variety of flours are derived from this process , however these foods usually produce a drop in blood sugar. 

What are the most nutritious cereals?

Cereals are naturally rich in starch, gluten, fiber and cellulose. These are essential nutrients for the proper functioning of the body. Below, we detail the 10 most nutritious types of cereals consumed around the world: 

1. Wheat

Wheat is one of the most produced and consumed cereals in the world. It is the raw material for refined and wholemeal flours and oils. It contains a caloric load of 339 calories.

You should know: This cereal is a fibrous carbohydrate with saturated fat. Contains vitamins A C, and K. It also has minerals such as potassium , zinc and magnesium . Plus, it has 31g of protein in just 100 grams. It is ideal for people suffering from mental illness or dementia.

On the other hand, buckwheat Fagopyrum esculentum ) is a type of cereal that is generally consumed as a whole grain, which helps to preserve its vitamins and minerals; while when common wheat goes through the process to be refined flour, it loses all its nutrients.

2. Corn

Corn is one of the types of cereals with more than 69% carbohydrates in its content. It has 4.4% protein , 26.77% fat and 80% fiber. It is also known as corn or corn. It is the most produced cereal in the world and is usually harvested in ears of various colors ranging from yellow to black.

This cereal is rich in amino acids and starch , being very versatile for preparing various foods. It also has vitamins A and B , and minerals such as magnesium, calcium and phosphorus.

Note: Corn regulates intestinal flora and blood sugar . In addition, its consumption prevents diseases of the heart and arteries. It is one of the few cereals that does not contain gluten.

3. Rice

Rice is a very versatile food and one of the most consumed in Latin America and Asia. It is a grain that is classified according to its size, color, aroma and texture. There are 10,000 varieties and it contains a high starch content . It is usually cultivated mainly in Asia, in humid soils with puddles of water or with constant irrigation.

This is a carbohydrate with niacin, thiamine and riboflavin, it also has minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium and phosphorus. In this sense, it is the protagonist of a wide variety of culinary preparations, it helps to improve the health of the bone system, regulates hemoglobin in the blood , and increases insulin production.

To highlight: Brown rice or brown rice is much more nutritious than white rice. This is because the first retains its shell, where it contains its nutrients for the body; while white rice has been stripped of its shell, thus losing much of its nutritional value.

4. Oats

Oats are a delicious cereal, with a unique aroma and rich in fiber , since it is a complex carbohydrate. It has a high content of vitamins of group B and E , amino acids and minerals such as iron and magnesium. It can be eaten with the whole or broken grain and are usually grey, yellow, black or brown.

On the other hand, the fat and sodium content is very low in oats, making it ideal for fighting diseases such as cancer, diabetes, dementia and arthritis. It is used to regulate blood sugar and lower bad cholesterol levels. In addition, it is a perfect natural diuretic , for people with aging conditions.

Important: A study in Mexico on oats determined that consuming the whole grain of this cereal provides nutrients. In the same way, it is diuretic with a high content of protein, fiber and has a high level of minerals and vitamins that help to concentrate the blood. (two)

5. Barley

Barley is a cereal very similar to wheat. It is used to make various flours, oils and usually has a sweet, simple, and almond flavor. Its cultivation is simple and in warm climates. In addition, it contains vitamins A, B and C , and minerals such as calcium, copper, zinc and potassium.

On the other hand, this cereal is of various colors, such as brown, purple or beige. Similarly, barley is rich in amino acids which increases the strengthening of joints, veins and tendons.

You should know:   Barley is high in fiber and antioxidants, which also helps improve the appearance of skin , nails, and hair.

6. Rye

Rye is a cereal native to Iran, which is recognized from the wheat family since it comes from an elongated and thin spike . It is used mainly for alcoholic beverages and flour. It is cultivated in winter to harvest in autumn or spring.

To highlight: In 100 grams of rye you can find 21% calories, 25% carbohydrates, 30% protein and 50% fiber. It has antioxidants, folic acid, vitamins A and B, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. 

It should be noted that this cereal is ideal for relieving bone pain , avoiding malnutrition, increasing muscle mass and sports performance.

7. Sorghum

Sorghum is a cereal that is not for human consumption , unless it is processed, since it is mostly used to create and manufacture all kinds of animal feed.   It is usually white or red in color and is characterized by being a strong, resistant and hard grain, which is why it is grown in places with warm soil.

Note: Sorghum is used to create alcoholic beverages , since it does not contain gluten. On the other hand, in 100 grams of sorghum there are 52 mg of calcium, 5.4 mg of iron, 0.38 mg of thiamine, it also contains vitamins D and E, which accelerates activity in the digestive and lymphatic systems.

8. Spelled

Spelled is a cereal similar to wheat. It has a high carbohydrate content and is ideal for making flour as it is rich in starch and sugar. In addition, it contains sodium, water and fiber within its properties.

Important: It is recommended that an average adult consume 50 grams of spelled per day , since this cereal is a great source of protein that helps improve skin, eye and bone health.

9. Millet

Millet is one of the oldest cereals in the world   It is usually consumed mainly in eastern countries and can be grown in places with climatic changes, since it is a strong and resistant seed that requires little water.

You should know: This is a food that is easily digested , being rich in fiber, magnesium, iron, fats and vitamins A and B. It is ideal for those who suffer from digestive problems such as constipation and diarrhea, it also stimulates the immune system since it It provides energy and is perfect for losing weight, since it has a satiating effect.

10. Quinoa

Quinoa is a delicious cereal with great properties for the human body. In 100 grams there are 64 mg of carbohydrates, 6 mg of fat, 7 mg of fiber, 14 mg of protein, 45 mg of calcium and 4.6 mg of iron, being a seed that can be consumed steamed or boiled.

On the other hand, it has a great content of vitamins B, E and thanks to its fiber and omega 3 , it is a food that helps purify the blood. It also improves the health of the nervous system and prevents mental illness.

To highlight: A study on current diets in the world revealed that one of the foods with the highest fiber content that improves food quality is quinoa, since it improves memory and prevents dementia. In addition, it is ideal for prediabetics and diabetics, since it controls hemoglobin and basal glucose levels. (3)

Key Findings

  • The types of cereals are carbohydrates that are easy to digest by the intestinal system.
  • Corn and millet are the oldest cereals that have been consumed.
  • Most types of cereals contain a high fiber index , which greatly favors gastric and intestinal health.
  • Whole grains have a higher percentage of nutrients than refined and enriched ones.
  • The different types of cereals can be used in the preparation of flours, oils, desserts, salads and alcoholic beverages.

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