Latin name: Secale cereale
What is Rye?
Rich and hearty in taste, rye is a member of the wheat tribe (Triticeae) and is therefore related to barley and wheat. Rye is a cereal grain that is similar in appearance to wheat but is longer and thinner. Used for flour, rye bread, rye beer, some whiskies, some vodkas, and animal feed, rye is usually available in whole or cracked grain form or as flakes that look similar to rolled oats. It is challenging to separate the germ and bran from the endosperm of rye, so unlike refined wheat flour, rye flour generally retains its large content of nutrients.
Unlike the other cereal grains that can be traced all the way back to prehistoric times, rye is one of the most recently domesticated cereal grains. It is thought to have first been cultivated around 400 BC in Germany. Today, rye bread is still a popular food in both Northern and Eastern Europe.
Rye is an especially prized crop in regional areas where soil has peat or sand because it grows well in much poorer soils than those necessary for most cereal grains.
What are the health benefits of Rye?
Considered neutral and sweet in nature, traditional Chinese medicine uses rye to strengthen the stomach, alleviate fatigue, stop day or night sweats caused by weakness, and lift lethargy.
Nutritionally, rye is a superb source of fiber, which protects against cardiovascular disease and supports gastrointestinal health. Rich in minerals, antioxidants, lignans, and other phytonutrients, rye helps lower cholesterol and provides protection against breast and colon cancer. Rye lowers diabetes risk through its combined content of fiber, which helps with blood sugar control, and magnesium, a mineral that is involved in the body’s use of glucose and insulin secretion.
Are there any precautions for Rye?
While rye has a lower content of gluten than wheat, it is still a member of the gluten grain group and may cause adverse allergic reactions in those who are susceptible.
Where can I find Rye?
Rye can be found in most grocery stores.
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