Also Known as
Most grains, like wheat and oats, have a hard outer layer. When they are processed, this layer becomes a byproduct, called bran. Likewise, when wheat is processed to get wheat flour, brain is acquired. This brain is packed with nutrition, and offers many dietary benefits.
How to Select
• Wheat bran is readily available in health food stores and large supermarkets.
• It can be purchased in toasted or fresh form.
• One can purchase wheat bran in bulk, which makes it quite easy to add to cereals like granola or to baked goods.
• There are also many food products that already contain wheat bran. A number of cereals are made with it, as well as bread and flour. However, you must note that many commercial oat bran and wheat bran products (muffins, chips, waffles) contain very little bran. They also may be high in sodium, total fat and saturated fat. Always read labels carefully.
• Wheat bran has a sweet taste, but not all find it appealing.
• It's also important to start slow when adding wheat bran to foods. A little too much can easily result in diarrhea.
• Adding wheat bran to muffins, pancakes, biscuits, waffles, or even cookies is a great way to bulk up the nutritional value of a food, especially its fibre content.
• A small amount of wheat bran can be added to smoothies, especially when it is finely powdered.
• Some people even take wheat bran in powdered form as a way of getting their needed dietary fiber each day.
• Bran may also be used for pickling (nukazuke), as in the tsukemono of Japan.
• However, one must note that wheat bran is frequently added to foods that aren't that nutritionally valuable. For example, some wheat bran cereals may be high in high fructose corn syrup or sugar. Wheat bran muffins may contain a lot of fat. Wheat bran pancakes may lose a bit of their nutritional value if slathered with butter and syrup. Using wheat bran is not permission to eat unhealthily in other respects.
How to Store
• Wheat bran cannot be stored like regular wheat flour. It tends to get rancid and is best stored in the refrigerator, especially if one plans to store it for long.
• Alternately, it may be stored in a vacuum-sealed canister at a moderate temperature.
• If you note that the wheat bran tastes bitter, it is probably rancid, and should be discarded.
• Wheat bran is high in protein, magnesium, manganese, niacin, phosphorus, zinc and vitamin B6, and is low in fat, with no cholesterol, and no sugar or sodium.
• Wheat bran is one of nature's richest sources of natural food fibre. It can help maintain normal bowel function and relieve occasional constipation, such as caused by changes in dietary habits or travel.
• As with all wheat sources, those who have celiac disease should not use wheat bran.