What Micronutrients & Macronutrients are found in Whole Grains?


Whole grains contain the entire seed of a plant, while refined grains have had part of the seed, or grain, removed during processing. Whole grains generally contain more essential nutrients compared with refined grains, which is why the U.S. Department of Agriculture encourages you to make at least half of the total grains you consume whole grains.

Whole grains are present in popcorn, brown rice, bulgur, quinoa, oats, whole-wheat and whole-grain breads, whole-grain couscous, whole-wheat pasta and whole-grain cereals.

Nutrients found in Whole Grains

Whole grains are a rich source of carbohydrates, which are your body’s main fuel source especially if you exercise regularly. The Institute of Medicine encourages all adults to consume 45 to 65 percent of their daily calorie intake from carbs, and at least 130 grams of carbohydrates each day. One slice of whole-grain bread provides about 15 grams of carbohydrates.

Fiber, a type of carbohydrate, can help you feel full for a longer period of time, can help with weight management and may help lower your cholesterol levels and reduce your risk for heart disease. Whole grains generally contain more fiber than refined grains, which is another benefit of choosing whole grains over refined grains. The U.S. Department of Agriculture encourages adult men to consume at least 38 grams of fiber each day, and adult women to consume at least 25 grams of fiber every day.

Whole grains are usually higher in protein compared with refined grains. One slice of whole-grain bread generally provides between 3 and 5 grams of protein, and 1/2 cup of quinoa usually contains about 4 grams of protein. The Institute of Medicine encourages adult men to consume at least 56 grams of protein each day, and adult women to consume at least 46 grams of protein on a daily basis.


Whole grains are generally low in fat, which is beneficial for weight management. One serving of whole grains generally provides about 1 to 2 grams of fat.

Vitamins and Minerals
Most food products made with whole grains contain, or are fortified with, essential vitamins and minerals. These nutrients may include folate, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, iron, magnesium, selenium and potassium. Folate is an important nutrient for pregnant and nursing women, and selenium acts as an antioxidant fighting free radicals in your body.

The amount of each vitamin and mineral naturally present in whole grains is based, at least in part, on the type of soil they were grown in. Many foods made with whole grains are fortified, or have had nutrients added to them. If you’re unsure of the nutrient content in the whole grains you’re consuming, check the food’s nutrition label or visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Nutrient Database.


U.S. Department of Agriculture Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010

Institute of Medicine

U.S. Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database

Comments are closed.