Health Benefits of grain and wholegrade flour

The list of chemicals used in today’s production of grain and flour is frightening. It starts already before the grain is even sown when the weeds on the land are killed off with weed killers to give a smooth tilling of the soil. The seed which is then sown has been dressed with a cocktail of chemicals, some of which have been linked with the collapse of bee colonies,

After the grain emerges synthetic fertilizers are applied, resulting in - what nature would call “ill-growth”. This will require multiple spraying of fungicides and, depending on the year, insecticides too. Should the grain grow too tall straw shorteners are sprayed on the crop, and in order to ease harvesting the grain is often killed off with weed killers a few days before harvest, sprayed directly onto the grain.

At harvest the grain is normally too moist for storage. Storage chemicals are now needed to prevent the development of mould.

Once the grain is dried it goes to the miller, who regularly fumigates his mill with chemicals to control grain beetles, moths, mites or cockroaches. At milling often bleaching agents are applied to freshen up the look of the flour, some flours receive preservatives too. But it doesn’t end here.

Before you have bread on the table a baker is needed, and he uses more chemicals: More preservatives, bread improvers, colorants, flavourings, emulsifiers, thickeners, stabilisers, acidity regulators, sweeteners, E this and E that. Many flours which he uses are already prepared baking mixes. A different one for every product and most of them have been chemically “optimised” by a food technician.

Up to 100 different chemicals follow the grain from growing to baking. The dough that finally ends up in the baking tin contains often such an amount of chemicals that many bakers are suffering from severe skin allergies brought about by their work place.

And you? Do you realize that you eat all these chemicals? These won’t kill you, but they add up in your body, and add up, and add up. And one day they will affect your health. Don’t forget: none of these chemicals benefit you and your health; they only benefited all those who took part in the production process.

Now let’s talk about wholegrade flour vs white flour. Wholegrade flour is one of the corner stones of organic and wholefood nutrition. As grain is one of our main foods today it is important to make sure that this main source of our food meets our nutritional needs. Nutritionists know that the most valuable parts of the grain are in the germ and in the bran.

The following table shows some of the differences between white bread and whole wheat bread (average figures in mg/100g, source: Lecoque and Richet)

 

Nutrient

Whole Wheat Bread

White Bread

     
Vitamin B1 0.4 0.08
Vitamin B2 1.2 0.03
Vitamin B5 0.6 0.7
Vitamin B6 1.0 0.2
Vitamin A 0.5 0.1
Vitamin E 16.5 0.2
Magnesium 342 18
Phosphorus 550 90
Sulphur 325 170
Calcium 51 20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This chapter is not about demonising white flour and there is certainly nothing wrong with enjoying a roll or a piece of cake that has been produced with white flour, but one needs to know that white flour should be the exception as it will deprive you of important nutrients.