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Well-being and Wellness

What is bran? Here's why nutrition experts want you to eat more.

Bran is one of those terms that you may see pop up in the cereal aisleFiber One or Raisin Bran for breakfast, anyone?

But you may not actually know what it means, or why those in medical fields suggest you incorporate more of it into your diet.

"The main benefit of bran is that it’s loaded with fiber, which is great for your digestion, colon health and heart," registered dietitian  tells ˽ýӳ.

What actually is bran? Here's what nutrition experts want you to know about the diet term, and how it can aid in your overall nutrition.

What is bran? 

Bran is the hard outer coating of a grain, which contains many beneficial vitamins and minerals, according to the . A whole grain keeps the bran intact, while refined grains such as white breads or cakes typically remove the bran.

"Eat more bran by adding a scoop of (bran-based cereal) to your favorite cereal, or bake with it in muffins and oat bars," Galati suggests.

Is bran the same as wheat? 

Wheat is one example of whole grains, which all have bran, per Mayo Clinic. Other examples of whole grains include oats, rice, quinoa and popcorn.

Get in a nutritious breakfast:Here's the healthiest cereal to eat in the morning

Is bran good or bad for you?

Bran contains nutrients including fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, several kinds of B-vitamins and iron. Those are all good things — but that doesn't mean that grains that don't include bran are bad for you, experts note.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends making half of your daily grain intake whole grains. While eating more “minimally-processed grains” is a good thing, Galati says, “it’s not necessary 100% of the time.” 

A 2019  of studies published in Advances in Nutrition found that while scientific research does validate recommendations to eat more whole grains, the idea that you need to decrease consumption of refined grains actually isn’t backed by any “substantial body of published scientific evidence.” 

In many cases, correlation has been confused with causation and led some to believe refined grains lead to a slew of diseases that shouldn’t actually be attributed to eating a normal amount of them. 

In other words: White bread may offer less nutrients, but it isn’t the villain it’s sometimes made out to be. 

“It’s all about balance,” Galati adds. “Choose minimally refined grains most of the time but make sure to leave room for the fun stuff to make your diet sustainable.”

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