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Antioxidants High, in Emmer and Einkorn

In Ankara, Turkey, scientists at Hacettepe University’s Department of Food Engineering compared 18 ancients wheats (12 emmer, 6 einkorn) with 2 modern bread wheats, to assess their total phenolics and flavonoids, phenolic acids, lutein, total yellow pigment, and total radical scavenging capacities. Results showed “remarkably higher total antioxidant activity” in emmer varieties, and “quite high levels of lutein” in the einkorn samples. In conclusion, the findings were considered to be key to “breeding wheat varieties for higher concentration and better composition of health-beneficial phytochemicals.”
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, August 27, 2008; 56(16): 7285-92

Sorghum May Protect Against Diabetes and Insulin Resistance

Advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) are increasingly implicated in the complications of diabetes. A study from the University of Georgia Neutraceutical Research Libraries showed that sorghum brans with a high phenolic content and high anti-oxidant properties inhibit protein glycation, whereas wheat, rice or oat bran, and low-phenolic sorghum bran did not. These results suggest that “certain varieties of  sorghum bran may affect critical biological processes that are important in diabetes and insulin resistance.”
Phytotherapy Research. 2008 Aug;22(8):1052-6

Organic Wheat Judged Tastier

Scientists at the University of Alberta baked whole wheat bread using the same cultivar of hard red spring wheat grown both conventionally and organically. They then asked 384 consumers to rate the taste – once, with unlabeled samples and no knowledge of the different origins, and again, after the breads had been labeled and the different growing conditions described. Consumers rated the taste of the organic bread higher both in the blind test and the informed test. Their ratings were unaffected by information on the environmental benefits of organic farming, but they liked the organic bread even more after learning of the potential health benefits of organically-grown foods.
Journal of Food Science, May 2008; 73(4): H50-7

“Whole” Whole Wheat Satisfies Longer

Researchers in Malmö, Sweden conducted a blind cross-over trial with 13 healthy adults to see If bread made largely with intact wheat kernels satisfied subjects longer than bread made with whole wheat flour, or refined wheat flour, and how the addition of vinegar would affect satiety. (Acetic acid, or vinegar, is known to increase satiety and lower postprandial blood glucose and insulin response.) The whole-kernel wheat bread with vinegar satisfied longest, even though it had the same amount of fiber as the whole wheat flour bread.
Nutrition Journal, April 27, 2008; 7:12

Nutrient Changes Noted in Sprouted Wheat

German researchers sprouted wheat kernels for up to 168 hours (1 week), analyzing them at different stages to learn the effects of germination on different nutrient levels. While different times and temperatures produced different effects, overall the sprouting process decreased gluten proteins substantially, while increasing folate. Longer germination times led to a substantial increase of total dietary fiber, with soluble fiber tripling and insoluble fiber decreasing by 50%.
Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, June 13, 2007; 55(12):4678-83. Epub 2007 May 12.

Ancient Wheats Higher in Healthy Carotenoids

Canadian researchers from the Food Research Program, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada evaluated several primitive and modern wheat species, and found the highest levels of carotenoids including lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene in Einkorn. Durum, Kamut® and Khorosan had intermediate levels, while common bread or pastry wheat had the lowest levels of carotenoids.  The carotenoids studied are thought to be important to eye health, among other functions.
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, February 2007; 55(3): 787-94

Less Allergenic Wheats Identified

Scientists in Shizuoka, Japan screened 324 varieties of wheat from around the world, in an effort to find varieties less likely to trigger allergies to gluten, gliadin, and alpha-amylase inhibitor. Einkorn, along with rare varieties from Mexico, Ecuador, China, and Italy, were found to be among the least allergenic.
Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology (Tokyo), June 2005; 51(3): 204-6

Magnesium May Explain Diabetes Benefits of Whole Wheat

It’s thought that foods with a lower glycemic index may improve insulin sensitivity. Yet whole wheat bread, with a glycemic index almost identical to bread made with refined wheat, has been found to promote insulin sensitivity when compared to the “white bread.” Researchers at Pantox Laboratories in San Diego, California, hypothesize that magnesium may be responsible, and urged “the strong desirability of choosing whole grain products in preference to refined grains.”
Medical Hypotheses, 2005; 64(3): 619-27

Whole Grains High In Antioxidants

Dr. Rui Hai Liu of Cornell and his colleagues discovered that whole grains contain protective antioxidants in quantities rivalling or exceeding those in fruits and vegetables. Corn, for instance, has almost twice the antioxidant activity of apples, while wheat and oats almost equal broccoli and spinach in antioxidant activity.
American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) International Conference on Food, Nutrition and Cancer, November 2004

Whole Grains Help You Weigh Less

A team led by Dr. Pauline Koh-Banerjee studied diet and health records of 72,000 men and found that those who ate 40 grams of whole grains per day cut middle-age weight gain by up to 3.5 pounds. Just one cup of cooked oatmeal or two slices of whole-wheat bread would provide this amount of whole grain.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, November 2004; vol 80(5):1237-45

Ancient Wheat Breads Digested Differently

Researchers at the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, in Frederiksberg, Denmark, compared three different loaves: einkorn bread made with honey-salt leavening; naturally-leavened einkorn bread made with crushed whole grains; and commercial yeast bread made with modern wheat. The naturally-leavened einkorn loaves significantly reduced the gastrointestinal response of GIP (glucose-dependent insulinotrophic polypeptide), a hormone important in controlling insulin secretion.
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, October 2003; 57(1):1254-61

Optimum Germination Conditions for Wheat

Scientists at the University of Alberta germinated wheat under various conditions to determine how to maximize the production of antioxidants.  First, they steeped the grains in water for 24 or 48 hours, then sprouted them in the dark for 9 days. Vitamins C and E and beta-carotene, which were barely detectable in the dry grains, increased steadiily during the germination period. Grains steeped for 48 hours became wet, sticky, discolored and acidic-smelling after germination, leading researchers to conclude that 24 hours of steeping and 7 days of sprouting would produce the best combination of antioxidant concentrations and sensory properties.
International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, July 2001; 52(4):319-30.

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