What is Bran?
Bran is the outer covering or layer of a cereal grain, separated during milling, and used as a source of dietary fibre.
It’s usually separated during milling of white flour or milling of brown rice into white. Cereal grains include: wheat, rice, corn (maize), barley, oats, millet, sorghum, teff and rye.
Bran is also called the husk. It consists of several layers, including the nutrient rich aleurone layer.
Wheat bran is the most commonly consumed bran. It has about 44% content by weight, of dietary fibre.
Quick Bran Facts
Each tablespoon of unprocessed bran has about 14 calories.
Bran is particularly rich in dietary fibre and essential fatty acids. It also contains significant quantities of starch, protein and vitamins and high levels of calcium, iron and zinc.
The dietary fibre in wheat and corn (maize), bran is insoluble. Oat bran has both soluble and insoluble dietary fibre. The soluble fibre is mostly due to the presence of a complex carbohydrate called beta glucan.
Bran contains a chemical compound, phytic acid. Phytic acid binds with minerals such as calcium, iron and zinc, making them unavailable to the body.
Bran should not be eaten in excessive amounts. A safe daily intake is 1-2 tablespoons. Consuming large amounts of bran may also have an undesirable scouring effect on the large intestines. (Rosemary Stanton)
What is Bran Used For?
Bran is used to enrich, bread, muffins and breakfast cereals. Oat bran is eaten as a breakfast cereal.
Fermented wheat bran used in soups.
Bran may also be used for pickling.
Coarsely milled bran is valuable for preventing or treating constipation. Finely milled bran, forms small hard faeces and may actually cause constipation. (Rosemary Stanton)