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A whole lot of fun whole grain facts

You might already know a lot about whole grain – like how important it is in a balanced diet, and how tasty it can be. But do you really know everything about it? No? Great! You’ve come to the right place.

Chewing it over

People have been eating whole grains for more than 17,000 years – they picked seeds, rubbed off the husks and chewed the kernels raw or boiled them in water.

Illustration of boiling water over a fire

Oh mummy!

Egyptians used to bury mummies with necklaces made from barley, and in 1324 King Edward II of England set the standard for the measurement - making the ‘inch’ equal to ‘three grains of barley, dry and round, placed end-to-end lengthwise’.

Illustration of a necklace made from barley

A whole lot of grains

One bushel of wheat contains around a million individual whole grain kernels.

Illustration ofa bucket of grains

War on whole grain

Amaranth is a whole grain that was incredibly important to the Aztecs. So when the Spanish invaded, their leader, Cortez, tried to destroy the Aztecs by not allowing them to grow it – anyone caught was put to death!

Illustration of a skull made of wheat

Tut, tut ...

Khorasan grain is a wheat variety that was brought to the US as a souvenir from an Egyptian tomb - it was sold as ‘King Tut’s Wheat’. Now known as kamut, an ancient Egyptian word for wheat, this rich, buttery-tasting wheat is certified organic.

Illustration a pharao with a kamut

Rice in disguise

Wild rice isn’t really rice at all – it’s the seed of an aquatic grass originally grown by Native American tribes. It has a strong flavour and is quite expensive so it’s usually mixed with other types of rice.

Illustration of a grain of white and brown rice

Wheat almighty!

Wheat is the most widely grown cereal grain. It’s grown on over 17 per cent of the total cultivated land in the world, and is the staple food for 35 per cent of the world’s population. It provides more calories and protein in the world’s diet than any other crop.

Illustration of a globe

Pop goes the kernel!

Popcorn is simply a puffed-up whole grain. It’s made from a special type of corn called ‘zea mays everta’ – the only type of corn that can ‘pop’. Try popping your own corn at home with the kids – great fun!

Illustration of puffing grains

Food of goods and kings

In Asia, the Amaranth grain is known as ‘king seed’ and ‘seed sent by God’.

Illustration of an indian god

Pure gold

Quinoa, pronounced ‘keen-wa’, is a whole grain that was highly prized by the ancient Incas – they called it ‘gold of the Incas’.

Illustration of gold and wheat

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    We've tried to answer as many of your questions as possible. You can search them all here:

    Do Nestlé products in emerging countries have more salt than products in developed/developing countries?

    For the last 15 years we’ve been working to reduce the sodium (which is the major component of salt) in our breakfast cereals across the world, because we want to keep on making them more nutritious. Achieving consistency on all products, in all countries, takes time - so some may have more sodium than others. Our aim is for all our cereals – globally – to have the same reduced levels of sodium, with a target of less than 135mg per serving in all our children’s products.

    What are the health and nutritional benefits of Nestlé Gluten Free Corn Flakes?

    As well as being a healthy choice for people who want to reduce the amount of gluten in their diet, or have coeliac disease or a gluten intolerance, Gluten Free Corn Flakes are fortified with B-vitamins, folic acid and iron

    How can I find foods made with whole grain?

    Two things to remember: • Look for food labels where the word 'whole' appears in front of the name of the grain, like “whole wheat” or “wholemeal bread”. • For foods with more than one ingredient, make sure whole grain is listed towards the top of the ingredients list. The further up the list it is, the more whole grain has been used in the recipe. And look out for the percentage of whole grain. You should find this in the ingredients list too. It’s easy to know if a Nestlé breakfast cereal is made with whole grain: just look out for the Green Banner and whole grain tick on top of the box.

    I’ve heard a low GI diet can help me lose weight. Is this true?

    It’s too early to say. The science in this area is still emerging. There is evidence that low GI foods take longer to digest and help you feel satisfied for longer, but none that you’ll eat fewer calories at the next meal.

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