Grains have been growing for thousands of years; for a good reason, they are a healthy food staple full of nutrients. All of us have eaten cereal grains in one form or another, and we would be lost without delicious favourites like bread, pasta and cereal.
Are grains just for human consumption? Nope, there are plenty of everyday uses for grains. Here is a list of what grains are used for:
Grains for Human Diet
Our species began storing and eating grains about 20,000 years ago, and while they still mostly ate meat, vegetation and fruit, agriculture let them put literal roots down instead of following the herds.
Today, we eat a wide variety of grains, including:
We eat whole and refined grains, and some experts suggest we have 6-8 ounces per day as part of a healthy diet. They contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, proteins, oils, and fibre.
Grains for Animal Feed
While some think grain is primarily grown to feed animals like cattle, only 13% of animal feed globally comprises grain crops. The rest is grass, leaves, and crop residue that humans can’t digest, like corn stalks and other material. Pigs and chickens also can’t eat this matter as they are monastic like us, but cows, goats and sheep are ruminant animals and thrive on it.
Agricultural by-products are great to feed for livestock. Grains include pulp fibre from sugarcane production and distiller grains from ethanol production.
Grains for Alcohol
Farmers use grain bin temperature monitoring and moisture monitoring systems to maintain high-quality harvests. Quality grains are desirable because they can be used in multiple lucrative industries, such as producing alcohol. There are several grains used in the production of spirits. Let’s check them out:
Grain Alcohol: This is a fermented grain using corn, wheat or rye mixed with yeast, sugar and water to produce a 190-proof distilled alcoholic beverage. It is pure alcohol and used in other alcohol mixes and as an antiseptic and disinfectant.
Vodka: This traditional Russian drink used to be made primarily from potatoes but now uses rice, rye, corn and wheat.
Beer: Most people know that barley is used to make beer, but other grains are mixed to add flavour. These include oats, rye, corn, wheat and rice.
Whiskey: is a barrel-aged spirit that uses mashed cereal grains like corn, rye, barley malt and wheat. Bourbon takes it to another level by using a much higher level of corn.
Gin: Gin is a special spirit that takes grains like rye, barley or wheat, fermented with herbs and spices, and then distilled.
Sake: Although it is sometimes referred to as rice wine, sake is a beer. A variety of rice is brewed to make this non-carbonated, alcoholic beverage.
Grains for Personal Care Products
Grains have taken over the personal care sector and are added to many different lines because of their amazing nutrient content. Vitamins, minerals, proteins and antioxidants are what every manufacturer wants in their products, and grains have them in abundance. They are also excellent for exfoliating skin.
- Barley is used in anti-aging creams by helping inhibit environmental damage with its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
- Rye works wonders for fine lines and wrinkles by increasing blood flow and cell function. It is used in moisturizers and anti-aging creams.
- Quinoa includes minerals like iron, copper, zinc and phosphorus to boost collagen production and is found in eye and face creams.
- Corn is used in moisturizers and face oils to combat dry skin by hydrating the cells.
- Oats are used in masks, serums and creams to moisturize, soften and smooth skin with their anti-inflammatory properties.
- Wheat can lighten dark spots and protect skin from free radical damage because of its wide array of vitamins and minerals, including A, B1, B2, B3, B6, and E, as well as zinc and selenium.
- Rice is included in various cleansers and exfoliants to smooth out rough textures and protect the skin by locking in moisture.
Grains for Fuel
Are you scared we are gonna run out of fossil fuel? Many countries blend fossil fuels with biofuels because they are sustainable and lessen our dependence on oil.
Biofuel is made from plants; the primary ones are wheat, corn, soybean, sugarcane, and other vegetable crops. There is:
- Bioalcohol: Fuel is like ethanol made from corn mixed with yeast and bacteria.
- Biodiesel: Diesel is produced by mixing vegetable oils, including soy, with alcohol.
Grains for Oils
Grains also produce cooking oils and many beneficial ingredients to aid food preparations. Grains include:
Many other seeds, nuts, and fruit produce oil for consumption and fuel.
This is only the beginning as more manufacturers across many sectors are finding the versatility of grains. Without even thinking about it, you are contributing to the daily production and consumption of grains, from the food and drink you consume to how you power your vehicle. Thank goodness our accentors transitioned from hunter-gatherer to agrarian.