Get More Grains: Freekeh

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September 25, 2013

Get More Grains: Freekeh

Trying to get more whole grains in your diet, you may want to try Freekeh, the green wheat

Freekeh (pronounced "free-kah") has been enjoyed for centuries in countries such as Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt. It’s a green wheat, so called because it is harvested when it’s still young and green. After harvest it is burned or roasted to rid it of its husk – the flavor and texture is similar to bulgur wheat, smoky, nutty and firm. 
 
Why is green wheat any different than the common wheat we are used to? Australian researchers with CSIRO have found that the timing of harvest (when it's young) helps the grain retain more protein, fiber and minerals than mature wheat. Freekeh is also low on the glycemic index and loaded with fiber. In fact, it contains at least three times as much fiber as brown rice and twice as much as quinoa. Freekeh is gaining popularity in the US particularly for its nutritional punch.
 
Alternating your grains with freekeh could add a boon of nutrition to your diet.
 
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, It might help you lose weight. Freekeh is both high in protein and fiber – both are very satisfying and may lead to lower overall calorie consumption and help with weight loss. Research shows that a fiber-rich diet is linked to lower body weight.
 
Along with helping normalize weight, fiber rich foods offer benefits to digestive and overall health. A diet rich in fiber helps keep you regular, and may lower your risk of colon and rectal cancer. In addition, certain types of fiber help lower blood cholesterol levels, and can even help to control the rise of blood sugar levels after a meal. The fiber in freekeh can also act like a prebiotic to increase healthy bacteria in your digestive tract. 
 
Freekeh is also rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids, which promote eye health.
 
Freekeh is sold in both whole and cracked forms, the cracked form is much more handy as it cooks in 20 minutes. It can be substituted for rice or couscous or even quinoa in a meal, it can also be enjoyed as a cereal, in the form of puddings, as well as in soups, casseroles and more. For those with wheat allergies or intolerances, freekeh is not for you.