What Are Cereals?
Cereals, for the uninitiated, are processed grains from which the inedible parts are taken off and some are broken into small pieces. Cereals are loaded with protein, vitamins, carbohydrates, minerals and so many other nutrients that are important for your body (1). They're grown in massive quantities as they are consumed in huge amounts worldwide. Several cereal types are available in India. Right from wheat and rice to millet and rye, you get it all in different parts of the country. But to understand the different types of cereals along with their benefits, you first need to learn their importance.
Importance of Cereals:
Here are some reasons to explain to you the importance of cereals.
1. They Make for a Great Source of Fiber:
You'd know that fiber is important for the perfect functioning of your body. Hence, enough fiber consumption in every meal can help you reduce the risk of heart blockages and indigestion (2). Cereals are loaded with fiber as they are mostly made of ingredients that have high fiber content.
2. They Load You Up With Energy:
Your body gets depleted of energy when it doesn't get enough nutrients. Cereals make for a wonderful source of nutrients which can in turn help you retain your energy levels throughout the day.
3. They're Great for Kids:
You should know that children need many nutrients every single day for healthy growth and development. But many children are fussy eaters. Hence, cereals work as the best healthy meal for most kids as they are filled with nutrients while being delicious at the same time. So when kids eat cereals every day, it ensures that they consume all the required nutrients required for their healthy development.
Different Types of Cereals With Benefits:
There is a huge variety of cereals that you can pick from when it comes to everyday consumption. Some of these are mentioned below.
Out of all the cereal types, oats are the most versatile as they can be made in several ways, both sweet and savoury. They are available in various forms that include rolled oats, instant oats, and steel-cut oats. It is the bran and endosperm layers of the oat grain that contains a soluble fiber known as beta-glucan. Oats are great for people with diabetes, they help prevent constipation and improve digestion while also being excellent for weight loss (3). Talking about steel-cut oats, we recommend you try the Saffola Fittify High Protein Steel Cut Oats. They're made from 100% natural whole-grain oats and make for a great source of protein and fiber. They are also loaded with vitamin B1, iron, and phosphorus.
Benefits of Oats
Oats are one of the best cereal types you can enjoy for a healthy lifestyle. Let’s take a look at the health benefits of including oats in your diet.
- Oats are gluten-free whole grain
- Incredibly nutritious - powerful fibre beta-glucan, rich in manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, copper iron, zinc, folate, Vitamin B1, and Vitamin B5
- Antioxidant-rich cereal – Unique group of antioxidants in oats called avenanthramides help lower blood pressure.
- High in fibre: They are rich in both soluble and insoluble fibre, which can help improve digestive health, lower cholesterol levels, and promote feelings of fullness.
- May lower cholesterol: The soluble fibre in this cereal type can help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, potentially reducing the risk of heart disease.
- May improve blood sugar control: Oats have a low glycaemic index, which means they can help regulate blood sugar levels and may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Promotes weight loss: Oats are low in calories and high in fibre, which can help promote feelings of fullness and reduce overall calorie intake.
Nutritional Value of Oats
Oats are one of the popular cereals in India and more and more people are trying to include this wonder cereal in their diet. A balanced diet with different cereals throughout the week has significant health benefits.
The nutrition value in 1 cup of raw oats is:
- Calories: 307
- Carbs: 54.8 grams
- Protein: 10.7 grams
- Fibre: 8.1 grams
- Sugar: 0.8 grams
- Water: 8.7 grams
- Fat: 5.3 grams
One of the most famous and highly eaten cereals in India is wheat. It makes for a stupendous source of dietary fiber & protein. Wheat is used to making chapatis, bread, and many other baked goods in our country. The kernels of wheat are ground after they are harvested & threshed to make flour, which is used in many foods. Wheat helps in digestion, lessens the risk of obesity, and also is rich in nutrients that are great for heart health.
Benefits of Wheat
Wheat is a staple crop that is widely used in many cuisines around the world. It is one of the most popular types of cereals in India. Wheat is a nutritious grain that provides many health benefits.
- Rich in nutrients: Wheat is a good source of vitamins and minerals, including fibre, protein, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, and zinc.
- Heart health: Wheat contains fibre, which can help reduce cholesterol levels and lower the risk of heart disease.
- Digestive health: The fibre in wheat promotes good digestive health and regulates bowel movements and prevents constipation.
- Weight management: Wheat can help with weight management by providing a feeling of fullness, which can help prevent overeating.
- Energy: Wheat is considered a healthy cereal type because it is a good source of complex carbohydrates, which provide energy to the body.
- Blood sugar control: The complex carbohydrates in wheat can help regulate blood sugar levels, making it a good choice for people with diabetes.
- Skin health: Wheat contains vitamin E, which is essential for healthy skin.
- Anti-inflammatory properties: Wheat contains phytochemicals that have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce inflammation in the body.
Nutritional Value of Wheat
Wheat is one of the best cereals in India with different regions being totally dependent on wheat. This cereal is mainly composed of carbs but also has moderate amounts of protein.
Here are the nutrition facts for 100 grams of whole-grain wheat flour:
- Calories: 340
- Carbs: 72 grams
- Fibre: 10.7 grams
- Sugar: 0.4 grams
- Water: 11%
- Protein: 13.2 grams
- Fat: 2.5 grams
Rice is also a staple food in various parts of India, which is why it is one of the most loved cereal types. It is gluten-free and makes you feel satiated for a long period of time. Rice is rich in nutrients, anti-inflammatory, and also provides you with instant energy.
Benefits of Rice
Rice or Oryza Sativa is the most popular cereal in India. It is grown in many parts of the country. There are various types of organic rice varieties that are grown in the country, making rice one of the best cereals in India. Brown rice is an even healthier alternative to white rice. Let’s look at the benefits of including rice in your diet.
- Provides energy: Rice is rich in carbohydrates and provides energy to the body.
- Easy to digest: It is easy to digest and is gentle on the digestive system, making it a great option for people with sensitive stomachs.
- Low in fat: Rice is low in fat and contains no cholesterol, making it a healthy choice for those looking to manage their weight and maintain good heart health.
- Rich in vitamins and minerals: Rice is a good source of vitamins and minerals, including thiamin, niacin, vitamin D, calcium, and iron.
- Gluten-free: Rice is naturally gluten-free, making it an ideal option for people with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease.
- Rich in Fibre: It helps to regulate bowel movements and prevent constipation.
- Satiating: Rice is filling and can help you feel satisfied after a meal, which may help prevent overeating and aid in weight management.
Nutritional Value of Rice
Rice is one of the best cereals in India with over 6000 varieties grown in India. Let’s look at the nutritional value of this wonder cereal.
Half a cup of brown rice contains,
- Calories: 108
- Protein: 3 grams
- Fat: 1 gram
- Carbohydrates: 22 grams
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Sugar: 0 grams
Another cereal that is famous in India is barley. A similar temperature to wheat is required for its growth. It is also quite a sought-after cereal type just like wheat and rice. You will lose weight if you eat barley since it keeps you full for a long time. It can reduce the risk of heart ailments while also reducing cholesterol levels (4).
Benefits of Barley
Barley is a nutritious whole grain. This type of cereal has been used for thousands of years in India as a food and medicinal plant. Some of the benefits of barley include
- High in fibre: Barley is an excellent source of both soluble and insoluble fibres that can help promote digestive health.
- Lowers cholesterol: The soluble fiber in barley, called beta-glucan, has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol levels, which can help reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Regulates blood sugar: Barley has a low glycemic index, which means it can help regulate blood sugar levels and may be beneficial for people with diabetes or insulin resistance.
- Rich in vitamins and minerals: Barley is a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B6, thiamin, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, and selenium.
- Supports weight loss: Barley is a low-calorie food that is high in fibre, which can help you feel full and reduce calorie intake.
- Boosts immune system: Barley is an antioxidant-rich cereal. It contains vitamin C, selenium, and zinc, which can help support a healthy immune system.
- Anti-inflammatory properties: Barley contains phytochemicals and antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation in the body.
- Sustainable: Barley is a sustainable crop that requires less water and fertilizer than other crops, making it an environmentally friendly option.
Nutritional Value of Barley
Barley is one of the oldest cereals in India. People consume barley due to its nutritional benefits. Let’s take a look at the nutritional value of barley.
One-half cup (100 grams) of uncooked, hulled barley contains the following nutrients:
- Calories: 354
- Carbs: 73.5 grams
- Fibre: 17.3 grams
- Protein: 12.5 grams
- Fat: 2.3 grams
- Thiamine: 43% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
- Riboflavin: 17% of the RDI
- Niacin: 23% of the RDI
- Folate: 5% of the RDI
- Zinc: 18% of the RDI
- Copper: 25% of the RDI
- Manganese: 97% of the RDI
- Selenium: 54% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 33% of the RDI
- Phosphorus: 26% of the RDI
- Potassium: 13% of the RDI
- Vitamin B6: 16% of the RDI
- Iron: 20% of the RDI
Out of all the cereals in India, quinoa is the most recent one that people have started to love. It is rich in protein, which means just one bowl of it will be enough to keep your hunger pangs at bay. Just like oats, quinoa can also be made in many different ways according to your liking. This is one of the cereal types that can aid in preventing heart ailments and regulate blood sugar levels along with being a good source of iron (5).
Benefits of Quinoa
Quinoa is one of the trending cereals in India, and people love it for its protein content. Let’s take a look at some of the health benefits of quinoa.
- High in protein: Quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids, making it an excellent source of protein for vegetarians and vegans.
- Rich in fibre: Quinoa is high in both soluble and insoluble fibre, which can help promote digestive health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
- Gluten-free: Quinoa is naturally gluten-free, making it a great option for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities.
- Low glycaemic index: Quinoa has a low glycaemic index, which means it can help regulate blood sugar levels and may be beneficial for people with diabetes or insulin resistance.
- High in vitamins and minerals: Quinoa is a good source of vitamins and minerals, including iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.
- Anti-inflammatory properties: Quinoa contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that can help reduce inflammation in the body, which may help reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
- May lower cholesterol: Studies have shown that consuming quinoa regularly may help reduce LDL cholesterol levels, which can help reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Satiating: Quinoa is filling and can help you feel satisfied after a meal, which may help prevent overeating and aid in weight management.
Nutritional Value of Quinoa
1 cup or 100g of cooked quinoa contains:
- Calories: 120
- Protein: 4.4 grams
- Carbs: 21.3 grams
- Sugar: 0.9 grams
- Fibre: 2.8 grams
- Fat: 1.9 grams
- Water: 72%
Millets are a group of small-seeded grasses that are considered to be a staple food in many countries, particularly in India and Africa. Millets are those types of cereals that are indigenous to India. They are gluten-free, making them a great option for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities. Millets come in a variety of colours, shapes, and sizes. Some common types of millets include:
- Pearl millet
- Finger millet
- Foxtail millet
- Proso millet
- Barnyard millet
- Kodo millet
- Little millet
- Brown top millet
Benefits of Millet
Millets have numerous health benefits, like
- Rich in nutrients: Good source of carbohydrates, fibre, protein, vitamins, and minerals, including iron, magnesium, and phosphorus.
- Gluten-free: Millets are naturally gluten-free.
- Low glycaemic index: They can help regulate blood sugar levels and may be beneficial for people with diabetes or insulin resistance.
- High in antioxidants: Some types of millets, such as finger millet, are high in antioxidants, which can help protect against oxidative stress and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
- Good for digestion: They are high in fibre, which can promote digestive health and help prevent constipation.
- Weight management: Millets are low in fat and calories and high in fiber, which can help you feel full and satisfied, making them a good option for weight management.
- Heart health: Millets contain a range of nutrients, such as magnesium and potassium, that can help promote heart health and reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Boosts immunity: Millets contain vitamins and minerals that can help boost the immune system and promote overall health.
Nutritional Value of Millet
One cup of cooked millet contains
- Calories: 207
- Carbs: 41 grams
- Fibre: 2.2 grams
- Protein: 6 grams
- Phosphorus: 25% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Magnesium: 19% of the DV
- Folate: 8% of the DV
- Iron: 6% of the DV
- Fat: 1.7 grams
Rye is a type of cereal grain that is closely related to wheat and barley. It is grown as a crop in many parts of the world and is used primarily as a food source for both humans and livestock. Rye has a distinctive flavour and a chewy texture, and is often used in the production of bread, crackers, and other baked goods.
Benefits of Rye
- Rich in nutrients: Rye is a good source of several essential vitamins and minerals, including fibre, protein, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.
- Regulate blood sugar: Rye has a low glycaemic index, which means it may help regulate blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Improves digestion: The high fibre content in rye may help improve digestion and prevent constipation.
- May lower cholesterol: Some studies suggest that rye may help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Promote weight loss: Rye is relatively low in calories and high in fibre, which can help promote feelings of fullness and reduce overall calorie intake.
- May improve bone health: Rye is a good source of several minerals, including magnesium and phosphorus, which are important for bone health.
Nutritional Value of Rye
1 slice of rye bread contains the following nutrition.
- Calories: 83
- Protein: 2.7 grams
- Carbs: 15.5 grams
- Fat: 1.1 grams
- Fiber: 1.9 grams
- Selenium: 18% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Thiamine: 11.6% of the DV
- Manganese: 11.5% of the DV
- Riboflavin: 8.2% of the DV
- Niacin: 7.6% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 7.5% of the DV
- Copper: 6.6% of the DV
- Iron: 5% of the DV
- Folate: 8.8% of the DV
Sorghum is a cereal grain that is grown in many parts of the world, particularly in Africa, India, and the southern United States. It is a member of the grass family and is related to other cereal grains such as maize, wheat, and rice. It is commonly used as a food source for both humans and livestock and is also used in the production of biofuels and other industrial products. Sorghum can be cooked in a variety of ways and is often used to make porridge, bread, and other baked goods.
Benefits of Sorghum
- Nutrient-dense: Sorghum is a good source of several essential vitamins and minerals, including iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and B vitamins.
- Gluten-free: Sorghum is naturally gluten-free, making it a great option for people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
- Improves digestive health: The high fibre content of sorghum may help promote digestive health by regulating bowel movements and feeding beneficial gut bacteria.
- Reduces inflammation: The antioxidants and other plant compounds in sorghum has anti-inflammatory properties.
- May lower cholesterol: This type of cereal may help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease due to its high fibre content.
- Manages blood sugar: Sorghum has a low glycaemic index, which means it may help regulate blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Nutritional Value of Sorghum
Half a cup of uncooked sorghum contains:
- Calories: 329
- Protein: 11 grams
- Fat: 3 grams
- Carbohydrates: 72 grams
- Fibre: 7 grams
Maize, also known as corn, is a type of cereal grain that is widely grown and consumed around the world. It is a member of the grass family and is native to the Americas, but is now cultivated in many parts of the world including India. Maize is a source of starch and is often used in the production of paper, textiles, and other industrial products apart from it being a food.
Benefits of Maize
- Good source of nutrients: Maize is a good source of several essential nutrients, including fibre, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
- Improves digestion: The high fibre content of maize may help promote digestive health by regulating bowel movements and feeding beneficial gut bacteria.
- Supports weight management: Maize is relatively low in calories and high in fibre, which can help promote feelings of fullness and reduce overall calorie intake.
- Manages blood sugar: Maize has a low glycaemic index, which means it may help regulate blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
- May help support eye health: Maize is a good source of several nutrients that are important for eye health, including lutein and zeaxanthin.
Nutritional Value of Maize
100g of boiled yellow corn contains:
- Calories: 96
- Water: 73%
- Protein: 3.4 grams
- Carbs: 21 grams
- Sugar: 4.5 grams
- Fibre: 2.4 grams
- Fat: 1.5 grams
Buckwheat is a plant that is commonly used as a grain. It is related to rhubarb and sorrel. Buckwheat is native to East Asia but is now grown in many parts of the world. With a distinctive nutty flavour, this type of cereal is commonly used in dishes such as porridge, and pancakes. Buckwheat flour is also known as kuttu ka atta in India. It is a good source of high-quality protein and for having a low glycaemic index.
Benefits of Buckwheat
- High in protein: Buckwheat is an excellent source of plant-based protein, making it an ideal food for vegetarians and vegans.
- Rich in antioxidants: Buckwheat is loaded with antioxidants such as rutin, quercetin, and catechin that help protect the body against free radical damage.
- Lowers cholesterol levels: Buckwheat contains compounds that can help lower LDL or "bad" cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of heart disease.
- Good for digestion: Buckwheat is a good source of fibre, which promotes digestive health and prevents constipation.
- Helps regulate blood sugar: Buckwheat has a low glycaemic index, which means it can help regulate blood sugar levels and may be beneficial for people with diabetes.
- May improve heart health: Buckwheat contains compounds that can help improve blood flow, lower blood pressure, and reduce inflammation, all of which can improve heart health.
- Gluten-free: Buckwheat is naturally gluten-free, making it a great alternative for people who have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
Nutritional Value of Maize
100g of raw buckwheat contains:
- Calories: 343
- Water: 10%
- Protein: 13.3 grams
- Carbs: 71.5 grams
- Sugar: 0 grams
- Fibre: 10 grams
- Fat: 3.4 grams
Now you know that cereals are entirely beneficial for your health and they're also quite affordable. You can choose from any of the above-mentioned types of cereals and include them in your daily diet to get your daily dose of nutrients. Cereals are filling, nutritious, and can better your health for good. Aren't those enough reasons to consider including more and more cereal types in your diet?
FAQs on Cereals:
What is the most sugary cereal?
Muesli or any honey-laden cereal is the most sugary form of cereal that you will come across.
How much cereal is healthy to eat per day?
The daily recommended amount of cereals for adults is 30 grams, without milk. This portion size equates to around 4 to 5 tablespoons of cereals a day. Of course, you can then add chopped fruits and milk to it to make a filling portion.
What kind of cereal can a diabetic eat?
Any cereal type high in fiber, and low in sugar makes for a great one for diabetics. Bran flakes are one of the cereal types that has 5 grams of fiber per serving.
What's the best time to eat cereals?
Usually, cereals are recommended to be eaten at breakfast and lunch. The serving size depends on the nutritional level that you can check on the label of the box which roughly comes to 2/3 to 1 cup, which is about 28 to 42 grams per serving.
Which cereal is good for heart patients?
Here is a variety of cereals that is good for heart patients:
- Granola with dried fruits, seeds, and nuts
- Brank flakes
- Shredded whole wheat cereal
- No added sugar or salt muesli
What is the difference between cereals and pulses?
Cereals are high in carbohydrates but also make for a great source of fiber, vitamins A, B6, B12, and C, calcium, phosphorus, and amino acids along with other minerals. Pulses, on the other hand, have comparatively lower contents in carbohydrates while being rich in other nutrients like fiber, amino acids, proteins, vitamins, and minerals.
What are 20 types of grains?
Here is the list of 20 Types of Grains
- Khorasan wheat (Kamut)
- Wild rice
Which cereal is called the King of cereals?
Wheat is called the king of cereals. Wheat gets this moniker because it can be cultivated in a variety of soils and climates than any other grain. Wheat is one of the most popular types of cereal because a variety of products can be made from one single cereal like bread, muffins, cakes, pastries, noodles, pasta, biscuits, crackers and much more. Wheat flour is also used to make different sauces and sweets.
Is Poha a cereal or pulses?
Poha is made from rice, which makes it a cereal and it does not fall under pulses. Poha is made by flattening rice, which is why it is also called flattened rice. Pho made from red organic rice is considered good for people with diabetes. It is one of the popular cereals in India which is consumed regularly for breakfast in the North, West, and Eastern parts of the country.
Should I eat cereal every morning?
Eating cereals in the morning is a healthy choice. When you include cereal types in your breakfast you are less likely to experience sugary cravings later in the day. Different cereals like oats, rye keeps you full for longer. Types of cereals to include in your breakfast plan are – wheat, rye, oats, barley, rice, maize, millet, quinoa and corn.