Properties of bran

Benefits of bran


What is bran?

Bran is the product that is left when refining the grains of cereals. Bran corresponds to what would be the outer layers of grain and more specifically the pericarp, with its three sub-layers: exocarp, mesocarp and endocarp (rich in fiber and minerals), testa (rich in vitamins and enzymes) and the aleurone layer (rich in proteins and fats).

The removal of these layers, deprivation of a whole range of nutrients that are important to health. For example, oats bran, this layer contains between 60 and 80% of all minerals.

When we eat bread made with whole wheat flour, these nutrients are incorporated in the dough and we can take advantage of them, but when we eat bread made from white flour, most of them do not appear on the bread, which is stripped of most vitamins, fiber, minerals, essential fats, enzymes, turning it into a rich product in only “empty calories”; it is interesting to provide energy but without the advantages of the other components that the bread originally had.

To counteract the refined grains in today’s society we have the possibility of taking supplements of bran. Among them are the most commonly used wheat bran and oat bran.

Food composition of bran

Oats bran (left) and wheat bran (right)

Oats bran (left) and wheat bran (right)

The following table shows the composition of wheat bran, oat bran, rice bran and corn bran.

  • A high amount of protein: Protein is needed for the construction and regeneration of the body. Its importance in the formation of enzymes and other chemical processes is vital. Oats and rice brans are those that contain more protein. The corn that contains less.
  • Low in fat and many carbohydrates: Of all brans, the only one that contains a high amount of fat is the rice bran. It is therefore the one with a greater number of calories. Its content is higher than pork or chicken. But fat rice bran, like other cereals, contains no cholesterol and their proportion of polyunsaturated fats nearly double in proportion the saturated, which does not happen with meat which has a higher proportion of saturated fat much more harmful to health. Cereals contain no cholesterol so it does not affect the incidence of many cardiovascular diseases.

All bran are rich in carbohydrate energy source highly recommended for its ability to transform into glucose in a very gradual which provides a satiety for a long time and greater control of sugar levels in the blood. It is especially rich in carbohydrate corn bran, while rice bran has the least. The wheat and oat bran contain very similar proportions.

  • Wealth in B vitamins: Cereals bran contains high amounts of vitamin B. The importance of this vitamin in the processing of fats, proteins and carbohydrates into energy is vital. Vitamin B plays an important role in nervous system health and the production of hormones, enzymes or proteins, as well as strengthening the immune system .

This vitamin is very important for the elderly and for vegetarians, who have a very strict diet with no animal meat, eggs, milk and derivatives. In both cases, unless ones gets a high amount of plant foods rich in vitamin B, deficencies may appear.

Among all of them we must mentin the really high values of rice branin niacin, pyridoxine and thiamin. Also remarkable is its amount in vitamin E., that constitutes one of main antioxidants.

Oats bran

Oats bran

  • Mineral Wealth: The cereal brans are rich in minerals. Particularly outstanding is rice bran. It is the one which contains more potassium and phosphorus, iron, magnesium and manganese. Wheat bran is very rich in these minerals, but not enough rice bran. Oat bran contains all good, while the corn bran has a lower mineralization.

Wheat bran is the one that contains more copper and more zinc.

Despite their real wealth in minerals, consider that the bran is rich in phytates. These compounds inhibit the absorption of minerals, especially iron and calcium, so that instead of creating wealth in this component, it might even affect the absorption of other minerals from other foods. It has been proven to be more convenient to take the bran bread raw, as cooking destroys most of the phytates. There is also evidence that excessive intake of bran can lower levels of minerals in the body.

  • Rich in insoluble fiber: Whole grains are the foods most rich in insoluble fiber in the form of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin. This fiber is the one that has the ability to absorb water, but does not dissolve in it, as does the soluble fiber.


COMPOSITION OF DIFFERENT CEREALS BRAN Per 100 gr.Raw wheat branRaw oats bran
Water9.89 g6.55 g
Calories216 kcal246 kcal
Fat4.25 g7,03g
Proteins15.55 g17, 30g
Carbohydrates64.51 g66.22 g
Fiber42, 8g15.4 g
Potassium1182 mgs566 mgs
Phosphorus1013 mgs734 mgs
iron10.57 mgs5, 41mg
Sodium2 mgs4 mgs
Magnesium611 mgs235 mgs
Calcium73 mgs58 mgs
Copper0, 998 mgs0, 403 mgs
Zinc7, 27 mgs3, 11 mgs
Manganese11, 500 mgs5, 630 mgs
Vitamin C0, 0 mg0, 0 mg
Vitamin A0 mg0 mg
B1 vitamin (Thiamin)0.523 mgs1, 170 mgs
B2 vitamin (Riboflavin)0, 577 mgs0, 220 mgs
B3 vitamin (Niacin)13.578 mgs0, 934 mgs
B6 vitamin (Pyridoxine)1, 303 mgs0, 166 mgs
Vitamin E2, 320 mgs1, 710 mgs
Folic acid79 mcg52 mcg
COMPOSITION OF DIFFERENT CEREALS BRAN Per 100 gr.Raw rice branRaw corn bran
Water6.13 g4.71 g
Calories316 kcal224 Kcal
Fat20.85 g0.92 g
Proteins13.35 g8,36
Carbohydrates49.69 g85, 64 g
Fiber21 g85.5 g
Potassium1485 mgs44 mgs
Phosphorus1677 mgs72 mgs
iron18.54 mgs2.79 mgs
Sodium5 mgs7 mgs
Magnesium781 mgs64 mgs
Calcium57 mgs42 mgs
Copper0.728 mgs0, 248 mgs
Zinc6.04 mgs1, 56 mgs
Manganese14.210 mgs0, 140 mgs
Vitamin C0, 0 mg0, 0 mg
Vitamin A0 mg71 UI
B1 vitamin (Thiamin)2.753 mgs0, 010 mgs
B2 vitamin (Riboflavin)0, 284 mgs0,100
B3 vitamin (Niacin)33, 995 mgs2, 735 mgs
B6 vitamin (Pyridoxine)4.070 mgs0.152 mgs
Vitamin E6.050 mgs2, 320 mgs
Folic acid63 mcg4 mcg

Healing properties of bran

Although the bran contains other components, the main healing properties of this supplement comes from its wealth of non-soluble fibers. Among the main properties of bran mention the following:

Yogurt with oats bran

Yogurt with oats bran. A good way of eating it

  • Control of cholesterol in the blood: In addition to not contain cholesterol, cereal brans have the ability, for its high content of fibers, to absorb cholesterol from the intestine and passed in the stool to the outside before it is absorbed by the body. It has been proven that people who include the supplements of bran.
  • Control of constipation: The fiber contained in the bran increases intestinal peristalsis and soften the stool so that they are expelled to the outside more easily and frequently, preventing constipation, a condition that affects many adults in Western society refine the practice of removing the bran cereals and grains.

By comparative studies has been that cultures that eat foods high in fiber have a much higher number of stools. In India the average of the stool is calculated between 300 and 500 grams per day, with a residence time in the gut of about 30 to 35 hours. In the western world people keep their feces for 3 days for adults and about 15 days old. The average weight of these is estimated only about 100 g.

  • Treatment of heartburn: Eating wheat bran usually neutralizes stomach acid production and helps the healing of ulcers.
  • Control of the sugar levels in the blood: the fiber wealth of the bran favors a greater control of the sugar levels in the blood. Studies realised in patients with diabetes have demonstrated that the bran ingestion allows them to control better the glucaemia.
  • Reduction of certain types of cancers: Besides absorbing the cholesterol, the cereal bran, it has the capacity to absorb great amounts of toxins that are expelled to the outside. According to numerous studies, the people who ingest some supplement of bran have an index of smaller probability to undergo some cancers, like the colon cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer and uterus cancer.
  • Prevention and treatment of hemorrhoids: Hemorrhoids usually originate by increased pressure on the veins of the rectum. When the bowel is difficult, the pressure on the blood vessels of the rectum can cause hemorrhoids. A diet rich in fiber help make stools soft and that his removal be done with less effort what will be a good way to prevent hemorrhoids.
  • Prevention of diverticulitis: An suitable ingestion of bran can prevent the appearance with digestive diseases like diverticulitis. It has been verified that a poor nourishing fiber diet, favors the appearance of this disease.
  • Aid in weight-loss diets: Bran supplements can be used to help to become thin, since, when mixed with water in the intestine, causing volume increase fullness in the stomach that helps reduce hunger. The fiber diet is one of the most used to cut some extra kilos.

Whenever you take bran supplements you should drink plenty of water !!! Hydration is necessary for the fiber to function properly and to prevent intestinal blockages

Methods of taking supplements of bran. Recommended doses

high-fiber industrial cereals

Very high-fiber industrial cereals are mainly bran

It can be eaten dry or fragments bran by tablets. The bran that can be purchased as supplements are oats, wheat and rice. The most common way is to take raw bran fragments. The usual dose as a preventative is usually taken one tablespoon daily with juices, milk, yogurt, potatoes, etc.

There are much higher therapeutic doses. To lower cholesterol, for example, recommends taking 25 to 100 g per day, which clearly exceeds the total daily dose of fiber recommended which is estimated at 25-35 g daily. If constipation is recommended to take 15 g daily the mixture of wheat bran and oatmeal.

In these cases you should consult with a dietitian, nutritionist or doctor to determine which is the amount we ingest. Little by little reaching the recommended dose. Keep in mind that the reaction to the bran is very dependent on people. Some, for example, require up to six times more than others to fight constipation. Keep in mind that, when taken in pieces dry bran, have a much greater effect the larger fragments that are present.

In cases of high intake is recommended to start with small doses so that the body gets used to it.

Precautions with bran

It should be borne in mind that the bran is not not food but a nutritional supplement, so we must be prudent in the amount of bran we eat. Bran intake in excessive doses can cause more health problems than advantages. Excess of insoluble fiber may cause intestinal abnormalities such as rots, diarrhea, bloating, flatulence or even intestinal occlusions. Diets with bran excess can be responsible for other more serious diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome or, as we have seen previously, deficit of minerals.

People who usually eat whole wheat bread habitually or abundant rich natural non-soluble fiber foods (all the vegetables; some fruits, such as pineapples, cherimoyas; or some vegetables such as carrots, spinach, artichokes, lettuces, tomatos or beets) do not generally need to take bran supplements of bran, unless it is indicated by a doctor.

It is necessary to eat bran along with quantities of water to prevent secondary problems that ingestion of this supplement can cause. The water helps to soften the fibers and facilitate its passage through the gut. It is advisable to drink at least a couple of gallons of water if you include this supplement in the diet.

In case of diverticulitis it is advised to check with your doctor the advisability of taking this supplement. Bran should not be taken by people who suffer from some form of colitis, including ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease. In case of osteoporosis, it is recommended not to take bran to avoid this supplement from inhibiting the absorption of calcium.

More information on cereals

This article was endorsed by Elisenda Carballido - Dietitian nutritionist. Postgraduate in Phytotherapy and master in Nutrition and Metabolism.
Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

11 August, 2021

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