Wheat Bran is one of the meals with the highest fiber content on the whole planet. When it comes to fiber content, only a few foods can contend with wheat bran. What exactly is it? How is it made?
Brans are a general type of food made from the outer layer of cereal grain. Some folks can’t eat anything made from wheat or similar grains due to its gluten content (people who have Celiac disease react nastily to gluten). Others just don’t like wheat. What to do? Replace it!
What is the best substitute for wheat bran? Oat bran is surely the closest substitute for wheat bran. It looks like wheat bran, it tastes like wheat bran, has the same nutrients, and can be used in the same way.
An Overview of Wheat Bran
Fun fact: Wheat is the most commercial crop on the planet.
Almost every part of the wheat crop can be refined into a finished product that is commercially useful. Flour, alcohol, distiller, protein concentrate, middlings, starch, gluten… we could go on and on. And oh; and bran, of course!
Wheat bran is the hard, outermost layer of the wheat kernel heavily loaded with nutrients and fibers.
Some of these nutrients include potassium, fat, calcium, protein, magnesium (usually high amounts), iron and vitamins. Fibers are not classified as nutrients.
Since they’re found at the outermost layer, in the grinding, milling, and shelling of wheat grains, wheat bran is formed as the by-product.
Wheat bran is beneficial in different ways due to its:
- Constituent nutrients: they are responsible for nutritional effects like a healthy heart (it is deficient in cholesterol).
- Fiber: they are responsible for mechanical effects like easy bowel movement. This is what makes it a valid treatment for constipation since its insoluble fibers add bulk to your stool and accelerate its movement through your large intestine. A huge part of its antioxidant activity in cancer prevention (particularly colon cancer) is also attributed to this.
- Phytochemical constituents: like lignans and phytic acid, are responsible for antioxidant activities like cancer and diabetes type-2 prevention.
Many healthy foods like this are usually bitter or unpleasant to taste buds. Not wheat bran. It not only sweet; it has a nutty flavor too! Incorporating wheat bran into your meal gives it an explosive taste in your mouth while improving its texture. Common foods are pastries and baked goods like bread and muffins.
You can achieve this by replacing some flour with wheat bran to improve its overall texture and flavor. While baked foods are the most common recipients of wheat bran, you can also sprinkle them on yogurts, smoothies, and hot cereal.
As good as wheat bran is, you don’t want to be adding too much of it to your meals. Remember, excess of anything can be bad. Excess wheat bran causes digestive distress (due to its high fiber). You don’t want that, we promise. The best thing to do is start out small and gradually increase the quantity.
Why Replace Wheat Bran?
- Allergies and health-related issues: This is usually the most common problem people have with wheat. All wheat derivatives contain gluten, and gluten is an allergen that triggers gruesome reactions in people who have conditions like Celiac disease. These reactions are commonly mild/severe abdominal pains and diarrhea. Indeed, one man’s food is another man’s poison.
- Preference: As strange as it sounds, some people don’t like wheat. And hey, don’t blame them. The mouth wants what it wants.
Best Recommended Substitute for Wheat Bran: Oat Bran
Oat bran, like wheat bran, is made from the grain’s outer portion, oat groat.
Note that though similar, oat bran is not the same as oatmeal. The latter is made from the inner portion of the groat.
While very similar to wheat bran, there are some differences to note:
- Oat doesn’t contain gluten, so it’s acceptable to more people.
- Oat bran contains lesser grams of fiber than wheat bran.
- Oat bran contains more calories per serving than wheat. If weight loss is on your priority list, we suggest you stick to wheat bran.
Regardless of these differences, they generally contain the same nutrients and have the same health benefits.
Other Substitutes for Wheat Bran
A tablespoon of flaxseeds contains 3g of fibers. That’s a lot for a tablespoon, and it probably already makes sense that they’re substitutes for wheat bran.
Flaxseeds are gluten-free. Therefore, you stand no risk whatsoever of developing any allergic reaction when you introduce them to your meals. Flaxseeds are also very useful in that they naturally lower blood sugar because of their fiber structure.
If you’re a vegetarian, you’ll find flaxseeds really handy since they have most of the nutrients you need.
This is a less common alternative to wheat bran. Though it contains lesser fiber contents, it is still very suitable. They are excellent when used with cereals. Like wheat bran, they contain essential nutrients like calcium, which help to prevent kidney stones. Rice bran is also a powerful cholesterol controller.
This isn’t a surprise is it? If you can use oat bran, surely you can use oatmeal. When neither wheat nor oat bran is present, simply ransack your pantry for some oatmeal and add it to your smoothies or pastry.