Grains, Corn, Rice & Related
Cereals, grains or cereal
grains, are grasses (members of the monocot families Poaceae or
Gramineae) cultivated for the edible components of their fruit seeds
(botanically, a type of fruit called a caryopsis) - the endocarp, germ
The word cereal derives from Ceres, the name of the Roman goddess of
harvest and agriculture.
Cereal grains are grown in greater quantities and provide more food
energy worldwide than any other type of crop; they are therefore staple
crops. In their natural form (as in whole grain), they are a rich
source of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats and oils, and
protein. However, when refined by the removal of the bran and germ, the
remaining endocarp is mostly carbohydrate and lacks the majority of the
|Did You Know?
|In some developing
nations, grain in the form of rice, wheat, or maize (in American
terminology, corn) constitutes a majority of daily sustenance. In
developed nations, cereal consumption is more moderate and varied but
staple food of peoples in North America, South America, and Africa
and of livestock worldwide is often called "corn" or "Indian corn" in
North America, Australia, and New Zealand.
Some grains are deficient in the essential amino acid lysine. That is
why a multitude of vegetarian cultures, in order to get a balanced
diet, combine their diet of grains with legumes. Many legumes, on the
other hand, are deficient in the essential amino acid methionine, which
grains contain. Thus a combination of legumes with grains forms a
well-balanced diet for vegetarians. Common examples of such
combinations are dal with rice by South Indians and Bengalis, dal with
wheat by North Indians, and beans with corn tortillas, tofu with rice,
and peanut butter with wheat bread (as sandwiches) in several other
cultures, including Americans.