NDSU Extension - Benson County


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Health Benefits of Whole Grains

A Taste

For Nutrition

By Kimberly Fox, Extension Agent

Family Nutrition Program/Family and Consumer Science


Health Benefits of Whole Grain

Whole grains are healthier than refined grains because we are able to eat the WHOLE grain.  Each part of the grain has nutritional benefits, and when part of it is removed, there go the nutrients, too. It is recommended that we make at least half of our grains whole grains.  Here are just a few of the nutrients in whole grains that provide us with a wide variety of benefits: 

  • Iron: Which is used to carry oxygen in the blood.
  • Folate: Helps the body form red blood cells.
  • Fiber: May help reduce cholesterol levels and lowers the risk of obesity heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
  • B-Vitamins: Help the body release energy from protein, fat, and carbohydrates.
  • Magnesium: Helps in bone building and releasing energy from muscles. 
  • Selenium: Protects the cells from oxidation.  It is very important for a healthy immune system.

When shopping for whole grains that offer these wonderful health benefits.  Remember to look for the words, “whole grain” at the beginning of the ingredient list.  Foods that are listed as multi-grain, 12-grain, 100% wheat, bran, or cracked wheat are not usually whole grains. 

Some whole grain products are also starting to put a gold stamp on foods so that we know that they are whole grain, and how many grams of whole grain is in the product.  This is just one more way to know for sure that you are getting the whole grain foods you need in your diet.  Here is a recipe for basic muffins feel free to add whatever extras your family would like.  Enjoy this whole grain treat!

Basic Muffins


  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 cups applesauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • carrots, raisins, and/or walnuts (optional)
  • milk (1/2 cup optional, only if adding carrots, raisins or walnuts)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line muffin tin with paper baking cups or grease bottom of tin with cooking spray.  Cream margarine and sugar with an electric mixer, or by hand.  Add egg, milk, and applesauce, mixing well.  Blend in cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and flour.  Add carrots, raisins, and/or walnuts if desired. If any of these items are added, also add milk and mix.  Fill muffin tins 2/3 full and bake for 15 to 18 minutes.


Makes 12 muffins.  Each muffin contains 194 calories, 5 grams fat, 35 grams of carbohydrates, 161 mg of sodium, 3 grams of protein, and 2 grams of fiber. 


  • NDSU Extension Service
  • University of Wisconsin-Extension - Sawyer County.

Lac Courte Oreilles Tribe, University of Wisconsin-Extension Nutrition Education Program

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