Latin name: Triticum
What is Whole Wheat?
A grass that is closely related to barley and rye, wheat is one of the most important cereal crops in the world, feeding an estimated one third of the planet’s population. Wheat is a leading source of vegetable protein for human consumption, boasting a higher protein content than corn, rice, and the other major cereal grains.
Wheat, an ancient grain, is believed to have originated in Southwestern Asia, and has been enjoyed as food by humans for well over 10,000 years. Sometimes called the “Staff of Life,” wheat has played a role in the sacred rituals of many cultures. In some areas of China, this health-giving grain is still considered to be sacred. Because whole wheat is easily grown on a large scale and its harvest lends itself to long-term storage of food, it was a key enabler in supporting city-based societies that sprang up at the beginning of civilization. Wheat was finally introduced to the New World in the late fifteenth century.
Bread, pasta, breakfast cereal, crackers, cakes, and muffins are just the tip of the wheat-products iceberg. Bear in mind that to get all the nutritional benefits of wheat, it must be consumed in its natural unrefined state, which retains the bran and the germ of the wheat grain. Look for 100% whole-wheat products made from whole-wheat flour.
What are the health benefits of Whole Wheat?
Considered cooling in nature, traditional Chinese medicine uses wheat to harmonize the stomach, increase appetite, alleviate indigestion, treat dysentery, aid in edema, and treat abdominal distention and fullness.
Nutritionally, whole wheat is a superb source of dietary fiber, which protects against cardiovascular disease and supports gastrointestinal health. Rich in minerals, antioxidants, lignans, and other phytonutrients, whole wheat helps lower cholesterol and provides protection against breast and colon cancer. Whole wheat 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.
More information about the healing powers of Wheatberries can be found in the Herb section.
Are there any precautions for eating Whole Wheat?
A small percentage of the population suffers from celiac disease, which is a condition caused by an adverse immune system reaction to a gluten protein found in wheat (and also sometimes barley and rye). In addition, some people have an allergy to wheat and should avoid it.
Where can I find Whole Wheat?
Whole wheat and its products can be found in grocery stores and bakeries.
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