05 Jul 2024

Grains 101: Type of Grains & Everything You Need to Know

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Grains are a staple food in many cultures worldwide, providing us with essential nutrients, fiber, and complex carbohydrates that fuel our bodies. Whether it’s a hearty bowl of white rice or oatmeal, a slice of whole-grain bread, or a serving of quinoa, grains play a crucial role in a balanced and nutritious diet. 

In this blog, we’ll explore the world of grains, exploring the different types, their unique characteristics, and how to incorporate them into your meals. 

What are Grains?

Grains, also known as cereals, are the edible seeds of grasses or plants in the grass family. They are typically divided into two main categories whole grains and refined grains.

Whole grains are the complete, unprocessed form of the grain, containing the entire kernel, including the bran, germ, and endosperm. These grains are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, making them a nutritious choice. 

Examples of whole grains include brown rice, oats, quinoa, and whole-wheat flour.

Refined grains, on the other hand, have been processed to remove the bran and germ, leaving only the endosperm. 

This processing removes much of the grain’s fiber, vitamins, and minerals, resulting in a less nutritious product. Common refined grains include white bread, white rice, and products made with white flour.

Types of Grains

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s explore the diverse world of grains. Here are some of the most common types and their unique characteristics

1. Wheat 

A golden wheat field under a clear blue sky, showcasing ripe grain ready for harvest.

Wheat is one of the most widely consumed grains globally. It comes in many forms, including whole-wheat, whole-grain, and refined varieties of wheat grain. Wheat is a great source of complex carbohydrates, fiber, and several B vitamins. 

Whole-wheat products are particularly beneficial as they retain more nutrients compared to refined versions.

Discover a variety of wheat brands like Aashirvaad, Patanjali, Rajdhani, and many more on Milkbasket and choose the best for your pantry!

2. Oats 

A bowl of crunchy oats with mixed grains and nuts, accompanied by a jar of milk

Oats are a highly versatile whole grain that can be incorporated into a wide range of culinary preparations. From classic oatmeal to granola and baked goods, oats offer a nutritious and satisfying addition to any meal. 

Notably, oats are rich in soluble fiber, which can help lower cholesterol and manage blood sugar levels. Additionally, they are a valuable source of essential minerals such as manganese and phosphorus. 

Leading oat brands like Quaker and Saffola offer high-quality options that can be conveniently purchased on Milkbasket, making it easy to incorporate this wholesome grain into your daily diet.

3. Rice 

A bowl of steaming white rice topped with sesame seeds, highlighting the simplicity and versatility of this grain

Rice is a versatile and widely consumed cereal grain that plays a crucial role in the diets of many cultures worldwide. This staple food comes in a variety of types, each with its own unique characteristics. 

From the nutty flavor and chewy texture of brown rice grain to the delicate aroma of basmati varieties like Mogra and Sona Masuri, the rice family boasts an impressive diversity. 

These grains also differ in their grain size, ranging from long, medium, and short grains, each with its own culinary applications and preferences. Whether used in traditional dishes or as a versatile side, the adaptability of rice makes it an essential ingredient in kitchens around the globe.

Brown rice is a whole grain that retains more nutrients than its refined counterpart, white rice, offering more fiber, magnesium, and antioxidants.

Explore a wide range of rice varieties from popular brands like Dawaat, Kohinoor, and many more on Milkbasket and pick your favorite! 

If you want to know more about the difference between vegetable biryani and pulao, check out this blog.

4. Quinoa 

A bowl of quinoa served with vegetables and beans, presenting a nutritious and colorful grain-based meal.

Quinoa, a versatile and nutritious seed, has gained widespread popularity in recent years as a healthy alternative to traditional grains. Unlike many other cereals, quinoa is a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids that the human body cannot produce on its own. 

This makes it an excellent choice for vegetarians, vegans, and those seeking to boost their protein intake. 

Moreover, quinoa is a rich source of dietary fiber, iron, and magnesium, all of which play crucial roles in maintaining overall health and well-being. 

Whether incorporated into salads, pilafs or served as a side dish, quinoa’s nutty flavor and fluffy texture make it a versatile ingredient in a wide range of culinary applications. 

If you’re looking to incorporate more nutrient-dense foods into your diet, Milkbasket offers a selection of high-quality quinoa options to support a healthy and balanced lifestyle.

Also Read: Vegan Recipes: Good For You And The Environment

5. Barley 

Close-up of barley heads covered in morning dew, emphasizing the freshness and health benefits of this grain

Barley is a versatile and nutritious grain that has been a staple food in many cultures for centuries. This chewy, nutty-flavored cereal is often used in a variety of dishes, from hearty soups and stews to flavorful side dishes. 

Barley is particularly rich in dietary fiber, which can help promote healthy digestion and support overall gut health. 

Additionally, it contains significant amounts of the essential mineral selenium, as well as other vital vitamins and minerals. 

Numerous studies have also suggested that incorporating barley into one’s diet may help lower cholesterol levels, making it a potentially heart-healthy choice. 

Milkbasket offers a selection of high-quality barley brands to explore and incorporate this nutritious grain into your healthy diet chart.

6. Corn 

Fresh corn cobs with bright yellow kernels, showcasing the versatility and nutritional value of this grain.

Corn, or maize as the fancy folks like to call it, is one of those super versatile grains that can basically do it all. 

You can grind it into makki ka atta to make delicious makki di roti, a staple in Punjabi cuisine, or use it to prepare bhutte ka kees, a popular dish from Indore. 

Let’s not forget the humble corn kernel – whether you’re roasting it as bhutta, boiling it for chaat, or adding it to your salads, corn is a great source of carbohydrates, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals.

So if you’re looking to add some tasty and nutritious corn products to your meals, be sure to check out the selection over at Milkbasket. We’ve got sweet corn sourced out from Sonipat farm fresh and even shelled frozen vegetable sweet corn to make your life easier.

7. Millet 

Millet seeds spread out on a surface, demonstrating the small, round grains that are rich in nutrients.

Millet might look like a small grain, but it’s a real powerhouse when it comes to the health benefits. Hailed as a rice alternative, Millet is gluten-free and loaded with good stuff like magnesium, phosphorus, and antioxidants, millet is basically a superfood in disguise. 

The flavor is nice and mild, with a slightly sweet touch, so you can use it in all kinds of dishes – from creamy porridges to flavorful pilafs and even baked goods. 

And the best part? You can find some awesome millet options on Milkbasket, so it’s easy to add this gem to your diet and get all those amazing nutrients. Brands like Nestle a+, Aashirvaad, and other popular ones are waiting for you to add to your diet today.

8. Rye 

A rye field with tall, golden stalks swaying in the breeze, illustrating the hardiness and unique flavor of this grain.

Rye is a resilient and adaptable grain that has long been a staple in many parts of the world. Known for its robust, earthy flavor, rye is commonly used in the production of breads, crackers, and cereals. 

Beyond its distinctive taste, rye also offers a range of nutritional benefits. As a good source of dietary fiber, rye can help promote feelings of fullness, support digestive health, and even contribute to better heart health. 

Enrich Your Diet with Healthy Grains from Milkbasket

Now that you’re familiar with the different types of grains, the next step is to incorporate them into your meals. Here are some tips:

  • Start your day with a whole-grain breakfast, such as oatmeal or quinoa porridge.
  • Swap out refined grains, like white bread or pasta, for whole-grain alternatives.
  • Experiment with different grains in your meals, such as barley in soups or millet in salads.
  • Look for whole-grain flour when baking to boost the nutritional value of your baked goods.
  • Consider trying ancient grains, like teff or amaranth, to add variety to your diet.

Remember, the key to a balanced and healthy diet is to focus on a variety of nutrient-dense foods, including a diverse range of grains. By exploring the world of grains, you can unlock a world of delicious and nourishing possibilities for your meals.

Milkbasket offers 9000+ daily essential items from 10+ categories like Cooking Delight where you will find the grain varieties mentioned above in the blog. Download the Milkbasket app, explore the ‘Har Ghar Annapurna’ category, and jump in to start ordering grain varieties from different brands that suit your needs!


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