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Friday, February 3, 2012

Cereals in Human Nutrition

Cereals are very important part of human diets. The three major species, wheat, maize and rice, account for a large proportion of the calories and protein in human diets.

Cereal grains contain 60% to 70% starch and are excellent energy rich foods for humans. Doctors recommend cereals as the first food to be added to infant diets and evidence from research upholds that healthy diet for adults should have most of its calories in the form of complex carbohydrate such as cereal starch.

Wheat and rice are the most important cereals with regard to human nutrition, and they account for 55% of the total cereal production.

A healthy human diet must also include 20 to 30 g/day of dietary fiber, which can easily achieved by eating whole grain cereal products such as breads, cookies or porridges.

Other components such as proteins and vitamins may be of great significance in human nutrition because of the large contribution of cereals to the diet.

Cereal protein is especially valuable in human diet because it complement amino acids between various plant sources. Cereal protein represents an important component in the diets of people, roughly 16 to 45 g per capita per day. Adult woman requires about 50 g of protein per day, whereas an adult man needs slightly more (about 63g).

In rural areas of poorer countries people may eat more than 500 g of cereal per day, which will provide most of their protein needs (and more than 50% of their total daily energy requirement).

It is also recognized that cereals grain have a low protein concentration and that protein quality is limited by deficiency in some essential amino acids, mainly lysine.

Cereals are an excellent source of fat soluble vitamin E, which is an essential antioxidant. Whole cereal grains contain 20% to 30% of the daily requirements of the minerals selenium, calcium, zinc, and copper.
Cereals in Human Nutrition

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