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The Health Benefits of Milling Your Own Grains

Sandra Ketcham

Milling your own grains at home is an excellent way to add nutrition to your family's diet. Research has shown that 40 percent of the nutrients found in flour oxidize within one day of milling, which means that by the time your store-bought flour makes it to your kitchen, much of the nutritional value has already been lost. By milling your grains at home and using them while they are still fresh, you preserve their nutritional value and have access to better tasting flour when cooking.

Natural whole grains contain a wide range of essential nutrients, including proteins, amino acids, and vitamins. Purchasing "white flour" from your local bread or grocery store deprives you and your family of those important health benefits. Grinding grains directly in your kitchen allows for the immediate release of nutrients and can be done very easily. You can mill your own flour while you are gathering the rest of the ingredients needed for your meal, or while your oven is preheating. Milling is not complicated, and requires very little time or effort.

Anatomy of a Grain / Layers

The endosperm of the wheat kernel, which is what flour consists of, provides an excellence source of energy, but lacks the other parts of the grain that provide the body with the most nutritional benefits. The colour of white flour results from the removal of nutrient-rich bran, wheat germ, and wheat germ oil. Industrial processors then chemically bleach the flour for an even whiter appearance, resulting in nearly no remaining vitamins.

A balanced diet rich in whole grains has been repeatedly linked to a number of health benefits, including a reduced risk of colon and bowel cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Regular consumption of whole grains has also been shown to lower blood pressure and reduce the frequency of constipation and digestive upset. Because researchers are not yet certain what components of whole grains actually provide the greatest health benefits, the entire grain must be consumed - something that is virtually impossible unless you mill your own flour at home.

In addition to the nutritional benefits of milling your own grains, it is cheaper to buy whole grains than to purchase flour that has been already milled. Milling also allows you to add a greater variety of grains to your family's diet, and works well with barley, millet, corn, rice, rye, buckwheat, sesame, and spelt. This increases your family's overall consumption of healthy grains, and spices up otherwise boring meals with new flavours. 

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