Wheat (Triticum spp.) ★
This is a very extensive grain group. The wheat we use today has evolved (mainly because of man) into different types or species. The most popular include:
- Common Wheat – This wheat is used mainly for bread around the world. It is a hybrid of various species of Wheats (and possibly genetic manipulation).
- Durum – A type that is very widely used in bread. It’s also used to make semolina flour, which is used to make many kids of pasta as well.
- Einkorn – A species of Wheat that’s used mainly for making Bulgur (cracked) wheat.
- Emmer – This species is also known as Farro. Its used mainly as animal feed but it may be gaining more popularity as a wheat for bread in some parts of Europe.
- Spelt – Starting to be used more by some food manufaturers as a healthier alternative to make breads, cereals.
These are the 5 main groups of Wheat. All of them contain a protein called gliadin, that becomes the protein gluten when mixed with water. Those with Celiac Disease should not eat Wheat or wheat products. The Einkorn species of wheat contains about 3x less gluten than Durum or Common Wheat. Although it still contains gluten, there may be some way for those with celiac disease in the near future to take advantage of this lack of gluten in the Einkorn species.
2 slices of Whole Wheat bread has about 46 mg of Magnesium in it. So to help boost your energy levels you can have a peanut butter and Banana sandwich for lunch. Shredded Wheat contains about 61 mg of magnesium per cup.
Bulgur Wheat is high in vitamins and minerals and is a great cancer fighter because of its high fiber content. Toasting it brings out more of its flavor. 1 Cup has about 8 grams of fiber in it.
Einkorn and Emmer Wheat
Emmer seems to be the more nutritious species overall and it is a better wheat for baking. Emmer wheat is the genetic base for the Common wheat species. However, Einkorn may contain more lutein than Emmer. This can provide a little boost for your caratenoid intake when it’s used for baking.
A Secondary Group of Wheats are the Red and White Wheats.
- Hard Red Winter – A High protein variety. It contains a high amount of gluten, which makes it great for baking hearty breads with a high protein content. It has a similar texture to French bread when its baked. This is most likely the variety you’ll find in “All Purpose Flour”. It’s about 40% of the U.S Wheat crop.
- Hard Red Spring – Also a high protein variety, same as the Hard Red Winter but planted in the spring and it is the best for baking bread and for milling into flour.
The antioxidants in Hard Red wheats in one study have been shown to help slow the natural oils in them from going rancid. They were also shown to prevent fish oils from going rancid as quickly as well.
- Soft Red Winter – Essentially the same as the Hard Red variety. Bred to have no red color in the bran but contains very similar nutrient content as the Red wheats. It’s good for cakes, pastries, flat breads, crackers and doughnuts.
- Soft White – this variety is usually reserved for making pastries or any wheat product other than bread and is best milled at home.
- Hard White – It’s sweeter than the Red wheats with similar quality and texture and baking.
Wheat is a very versatile grain. Because Wheat has so many different species around the world, flours from two or more species or types can be blended to create all kinds of combinations with a wide range of results and food products.
This part of the grain contains the most disease fighting nutrients in a grain of wheat. It contains zinc and antioxidants that help prevent eczema and even acne. ½ cup provides your daily dose of zinc. You can use wheat germ in salads, oatmeal, cereal, yogurt, smoothies and many other things.
Two tablespoons of raw wheat germ has about 1.5 grams of unsaturated fat, 9 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of protein, 2 grams fiber, 2 grams of sugars, no cholesterol and is about 60 calories.
Wheat germ contains vitamin B’s like folate, B1 and B6 that are good for the heart and brain and its packed with fiber.
The phytosterols in wheat germ can significantly reduce your LDL cholesterol levels and help keep your intestines from absorbing it into the body.
It’s full of vitamin E, which has tremendous health benefits.
Wheat Germ is good at reducing the levels of homocystine in the brain. Homocystine is an amino acid that’s linked with inflammation in the body so people with heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic inflammatory diseases have higher levels of homocystine, which leaves you more prone to strokes, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. To help lower homocystine levels in the body you can sprinkle some Wheat Germ on your yogurt or cereal whenever you eat it.6
Fermented wheat germ can help reduce the pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis by reducing morning stiffness in the joints. Unlike steroids, which can have many side effects when used for arthritis, wheat germ has none.