B is for Bran


Nutrition Tip Thursday

Randi Karlinsky MS, RDN, LDN, CHC

Bran is an important part of the anatomy of a whole grain, specifically in oats, wheat, rice, and rye. In order to discuss what exactly bran is its health benefits, we need to discuss the grain as a whole.

The anatomy of the grain consists of three main parts; germ, endosperm, and bran. The germ is where the grain originates with the potential to sprout into a new plant. The endosperm provides food and energy for the germ needed to extend its roots down for water, nutrients and continued growth. It is by far the largest part of the grain. Finally, the outer layer of the grain is known as the bran, today’s main topic. The bran consists of multiple layers providing the grain protection. A single grain contains a variety of nutrients in the form of both macronutrients and micronutrients.

Germ contains B vitamins, protein, minerals, and healthy fats.

Endosperm contains starchy carbohydrates, protein, and small amounts of vitamins and minerals.

Bran contains antioxidants, B-vitamins, and fiber.

Bran is often isolated specifically from a wheat grain to form wheat bran. The primary benefit when consuming the bran alone is the high concentration of fiber. Fiber is essential for digestive health and maintain a strong immune system. Wheat bran is commonly consumed to prevent certain diseases involving the large intestine, certain cancers, gallbladder disease, hiatal hernias, and hemorrhoids. In addition, bran can be used to treat constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and even diabetes.

Important Note: The bran layer of the grain is stripped to create processed products such as white bread and white rice. Choose 100% whole grain products like 100% whole wheat bread and brown rice to ensure you are reaping all of the benefits the bran and grain as a whole have to offer.