Wheat is a grass widely cultivated for its seed. It is a cereal grain that has gradually become the worldwide staple food. There are many species of wheat which together make up the genus Triticum; the most widely grown is common wheat.
Wheat is grown on 220.4 million hectares (as per 2014 report) and World trade in wheat is greater than for all other crops combined. These statistics indicate the humongous impact of wheat on the lives of mankind. Wheat has become an indispensable part of the dietary character of people the world over. Wheat is the most common cereal available all over the world and is in even higher demand in recent years due to its abundant health benefits. Wheat is regarded as the most successful and sustainable cereal crop in the world. It originated in southwestern Asia, but today it is grown in countless countries. Commonly, wheat cultivation is done at higher latitudes and is primarily used for baking bread products.
Food like bread, pasta, crackers, bagels, cakes, and muffins are just a few common examples of the enormous sources of wheat. Wheat is believed to be one of the most wholesome food items, and it ensures a diet rich in nutrients.
Nutritional Value of Wheat
Wheat is rich in catalytic elements, mineral salts, calcium, magnesium, potassium, sulfur, chlorine, arsenic, silicon, manganese, zinc, iodide, copper, vitamin B, and vitamin E. This array of the wealth of nutrients is often used as a cultural base or foundation of nourishment. Issues like anemia, mineral deficiencies, gallstones, breast cancer, chronic inflammation, obesity, asthma, tuberculosis, pregnancy problems and breastfeeding problems are quickly improved by consuming whole wheat. It is also highly recommended for removing sterility. Since germinated wheat comprises 2 or 3 times more vitamin B than the common kind; the seeds are used for treating gastrointestinal conditions, skin diseases, respiratory illnesses, and cardiovascular ailments. It is also known to keep the cholesterol in balance and keeps the heart fit and healthy.
Health Benefits of Wheat
Controls Obesity (especially in women): Wheat has a natural ability to keep the weight under control, but this ability is more pronounced among women. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has shown through research that whole wheat, rather than refined form, is an excellent choice for obese patients. Women who consume whole wheat products over a long period showed considerably more weight loss than the others.
Improves body metabolism: Saturated and Trans fats increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases, while omega-3 fats (present in wheat) decrease cardiovascular disease risk. Whole grains like wheat are immensely effective on patients with metabolic disorders. Common types of metabolic syndromes include visceral obesity, also known as the “pear shaped” body, high triglycerides, low levels of protective HDL cholesterol, and high blood pressure. It protects against all of these conditions. Having a whole wheat diet is probably the most effective, quick, and enjoyable way to reduce metabolic syndrome, and the same time stay slim and healthy throughout your life.
Prevents Type 2 Diabetes: Wheat is rich in magnesium, which is a mineral that acts as a co-factor for more than 300 enzymes. These enzymes are involved in the body’s functional use of insulin and glucose secretion. Moreover, regular consumption of whole grain wheat promotes healthy blood sugar control. People who suffer from diabetes are able to keep their sugar levels under control by replacing rice with wheat in their diet.
Minimizes Chronic Inflammation: The betaine content of wheat helps in the prevention of chronic inflammation. Betaine is usually found in whole wheat, beets and spinach. Inflammation is a key constituent in most types of rheumatic pains and also some rheumatic diseases. Thus, it is imperative to take a diet comprised of whole wheat food products that will actively reduce inflammation. Consumption of betaine affects a large number of functions of the body that assures a lower risk of chronic inflammation and other ailments like osteoporosis, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cognitive decline, and type-2 diabetes.
Prevents Asthma in Children: Studies have stated that whole wheat in the diet can lower the chances of childhood asthma to a great extent. Bronchial hyper-responsiveness is the key factor that encourages asthma. In many surveys, it has been seen that children who regularly eat wheat in high amounts do not suffer from such ailments. The magnesium and vitamin E provided by wheat contributes in reducing the problem of asthma.
Prevents Heart Attack: Whole grain products and dietary fiber have been shown to reduce the risk of a heart attack to a considerable extent. The start of your day can be both healthy and tasty with a daily bowl of whole wheat cereal. There are various other forms in which you can serve wheat like bread, puddings and a variety of baked goods.
Skin & Hair Benefits of Wheat:
The selenium present in whole grains, including whole wheat, does amazing things for your skin. One of the skin benefits you gain is nourished skin that is made possible by the antioxidant properties of selenium. The antioxidant properties of whole wheat protect your skin from the damaging effects of the sun and also from the environmental pollutants. Selenium is a wonder mineral that huge beneficial effects to your skin. Acting as a natural anti-aging agent, selenium offers you a radiant skin. It also retains your skin’s elasticity, thus slowing the aging process. Whole wheat has rich fiber content, which helps in cleansing your body by removing harmful toxins. When these toxins are removed, your skin becomes less prone to acne breakouts.
Like skin, your hair too needs foods that are nutritious and healthy to be strong and healthy. With the minerals and vitamins present in whole wheat, your hair too can get the benefits. Whole wheat has zinc content. One of the many powers of this mineral is the ability to give you healthy and lustrous hair. Zinc also helps in nourishing your hair, keeping it safe from damages caused by the environment and other health-related factors.
SIDE EFFECTS OF WHEAT CONSUMPTION
Gluten is the main protein found in wheat and a few other grains like rye, spelt and barley. The problem with wheat is that many people are unable to properly digest the gluten in it. There is evidence that gluten can make the intestinal lining more permeable, potentially allowing partially digested substances to "leak" from the digestive tract into the bloodstream.
Increase in blood sugar level
Refined grain products like white bread get digested quickly, which leads to large spikes in blood sugar. Elevated blood sugars also cause complications when the glucose reacts with proteins in the body. This is called glycation and is one of the components of aging.
Wheat absorbs Nutrients
Wheat contains a substance called Phytic acid, which can reduce absorption of important minerals. It may also cause people to burn their Vitamin D stores faster, contributing to deficiency.
Studies show that wheat consumption is associated with serious disorders of the brain including schizophrenia and memory loss. Other disorders of the brain that may be associated with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity are autism and epilepsy.