Wheat bran is well known for providing a significant source of dietary fiber, but it is also a great source of minerals and some vitamins. Harvard University’s “Nutrition Source” indicates that a high intake of cereal fiber and whole grains such as wheat bran is linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and metabolic syndrome.
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Bran is the hard outer shell of the wheat plant. As the insoluble wheat bran passes through your system, it aids digestion, adds bulk to stools and prevents constipation. To benefit from the nutrition and fiber provided by wheat bran, food products should be made from 100 percent whole-wheat flour because the process that produces white flour removes the bran. According to University of Michigan Integrative Medicine, wheat bran loses vitamins and fiber during processing. Wheat bran can be purchased in bulk but must be kept cool as it can quickly turn rancid.
The nutrition data included in this article is for a 1-ounce portion of wheat bran, which is a half-cup. This serving size contains 60 calories, 1 gram of fat, 18 grams of carbohydrates and 4 grams of protein. The same portion provides 12 grams of dietary fiber, which represents 48 percent of the entire recommended daily value. Since this nutritional analysis is of pure wheat bran, it’s helpful to compare it to half a cup of bran cereal, which includes other ingredients and slightly less wheat bran. The equivalent serving of bran cereal contains about 8 grams of dietary fiber, or 33 percent of the daily value.
Wheat bran is a good source of the B vitamins, including niacin at 19 percent of the DV; vitamin B6 at 18 percent of the DV; riboflavin and thiamin, both with 10 percent of the DV. You’ll also receive 6 percent of the recommended daily value of folic acid -- B9 -- and pantothenic acid -- B5. Finally, wheat bran provides a small amount of the fat-soluble vitamins E and K.
Wheat bran is a rich source of eight important minerals. It is exceptionally high in manganese, providing 161 percent of its recommended daily value. It also provides extremely high amounts of magnesium -- 43 percent of the DV -- selenium -- 31 percent of the DV -- and phosphorus -- 28 percent of the DV. Dropping a little but still considered to be a good source, wheat bran provides 16 percent of the daily value of iron, 14 percent of zinc and copper and 9 percent of potassium. The final mineral found in wheat bran is calcium, at 2 percent of the DV.
Even though wheat bran contains a small amount of saturated fat -- 0.2 grams or 1 percent of the DV -- it also provides healthy omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. A half-cup of wheat bran provides 46.8 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids and 571 milligrams of omega-6 fatty acids.
If you haven’t been including wheat bran in your diet and will begin doing so, add it gradually. Too much dietary fiber added too quickly can cause gas, bloating and cramps.