Wheat Berry

Wheat berry (also written as wheatberry) is actually the whole grain form of the common wheat. Wheat berry (botanical name Triticum aestivum L.) comprises all the three elements of wheat kernel, which includes wheat germ, wheat endosperm and wheat bran. Wheat barn and wheat germ are rich in nutrient content, but they are removed during the processing of refined grains. What is left behind is only the endosperm and, hence, the final refined product contains significantly reduced amounts of vital vitamins and minerals.

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Precisely speaking, wheat berries are unprocessed, whole wheat kernels that are in their basic natural state. They have resemblance to other energetic whole grains like barley. Wheat berries are highly nutritious and have a crispy texture. They offer us the entire nutriments contained by any whole grain since they enclose endosperm, germ and bran. All types of wheat products, including wheat flour, are prepared from wheat berries. In fact, wheat berries are a tasty food option on their own as they are not only loaded with nutrients, but also have a crispy texture.

All wheat berries are not the same and they differ from each other on several points. For instance, there are various different types of wheat berries having different colors, textures and even size. Usually, wheat berries derive their name from their growing season, color and gluten content. Some grow in winter, while there are others that grow in spring. Some may be hard, while others may be soft. Similarly, their color may vary from white to red.

Wheat berries that are easily available in health food stores and in limited supermarkets are the winter wheat berries and the hard red spring wheat berries. The winter wheat berries are very chewy and contain loads of protein. Generally, their color is brownish. Usually, these wheat berry varieties are used for making "rough" flour and breads. On the other hand, the soft white variety of wheat berries is starchy and their kernel is relatively soft. This variety may be utilized for making pasty flour.

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Since wheat berries enclose the germ, endosperm and bran, they also contain a significant amount of dietary fiber, protein and various micronutrients. Owing to this, wheat berry grains offer several health benefits.

You can cook wheat berries and also add them to various dishes. In addition, you may also pound them to make flour. You may also sow the grains in soil to grow wheatgrass. In recent times, wheatgrass has become very popular owing to the health benefits it offers. You may often find them in supplements and juices.

How to cook wheat berries

Since whole grain wheat berries are tough, it takes some time to cook. If you want to cook wheat berries, you need to cover them with lots of water and bring the water to boil. Subsequently, simmer the wheat berries in a covered container for around an hour or till they become soft. If you are looking for process that will cook the wheat berries quickly, you can soak them during the night before cooking. Alternately, you may also cook these whole grains in a pressure cooker or crock pot.

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Cooked wheat berries can be used in the same manner as you use rice or other whole grains. You may use them in salads, soups, in the form of a base for a stir-fry and even in as side dishes. You may simmer the wheat berry grains in milk and eat it for breakfast as porridge or stuff them in bell peppers. In case you possess a home mill (any high-powered food processor like Vitamix, you can also use these whole grains for making fresh wheat flour.

Health benefits

If you are seeking to lose some weight, it is not necessary that you should stay away from carbs. What you actually need to do is be selective in choosing the right type of carbs. Basically, carbs are of two types - simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates. Processed foods contain simple carbohydrates and, hence, consuming processed foods will provide you with quick energy boost as they burn fat. It is unfortunate that if you wish to enhance your energy levels you have to pay for it. This is because consuming processed foods or simple carbohydrates will result in a spike in your blood glucose level. When the level of glucose drops your cravings increase greatly.

In contrast, complex carbohydrates burn fats gradually. Therefore, complex carbohydrates make you feel satiated for a prolonged period. As a result, your glucose levels remain constant. In addition, when you consume complex carbs you will not have cravings or eat excessively. Wheat berry grains comprise complex carbohydrates. So if you consume wheat berry on a regular basis, it will help to keep your blood sugar level stable.

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If you want to keep your blood sugar level in check, it is advisable that you try consuming wheat berry. It will not only keep your blood sugar levels under control, but also help you prevent several other ailments. Wheat berry is a beneficial friend, especially for people suffering from diabetes. Wheat berry also contains plenty of dietary fiber, which actually helps to inhibit the absorption of sugar by the bloodstream. People with high blood sugar often suffer from exhaustion and headaches. Therefore, consuming wheat berries regularly will make you feel healthy and fit inside out.

Healthy fats and protein are essential for our body as they help to keep our body lean as well as healthy. Consuming a serving of one-fourth of a cup of wheat berries supplies our body with 4.5 grams of protein and less than one gram of fat. When you combine wheat berries with any other type of protein, it offers you a low-calorie and satisfying meal. Whatever little fat is contained by wheat berry is from the germ of these seeds. However, it is well known that plant-based fat is beneficial for our body as it controls the level of cholesterol in the bloodstream. Healthy fats found in wheat berry grains actually help to get rid of fat plaques that build up on the walls of the arteries. In addition, consuming wheat berry on a regular basis can also help to significantly lower the chances of developing cardiovascular disease.

Aside from healthy fats, protein and dietary fiber, these whole grains also contain a number of essential minerals. A serving of one-fourth cup of wheat berries supplies our body with 53 mg of magnesium. Magnesium is an essential mineral that helps to lower high blood pressure and, at the same time, decreases the chances of developing type-2 diabetes. A similar serving of wheat berry also supplies our body with 164 mg of vitamin B, vitamin E and potassium.

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Similar to most other whole grains, wheat berries are also a wonderful source of dietary fiber. Dietary fiber not only works to support our digestive health, but also keeps the blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels low. In addition, it helps in promoting healthy weight and helps to maintain regular bowel movement. According to a report published by the Harvard School of Public Health, whole grains like wheat berries enclose plant estrogens (also known as phytoestrogens), which may help to lower the chances of developing specific forms of cancer, especially because of the essential minerals present in whole wheat. Whole wheat contains minerals like copper, magnesium, manganese and the trace mineral selenium.

Since wheat berries contain high concentration of fiber, they may also promote a healthy heart. It has been found that fiber lowers the levels of low density lipo-protein (LDL) or "bad" cholesterol, especially when one's cholesterol levels are high and deposit fat inside the arteries obstructing normal blood circulation. At the same time, wheat berries are a wonderful source of the essential mineral manganese, which ensures that our bones remain healthy and it also aids in developing bone cartilage as well as collagen. Actually, taking one serving of these whole grains supplies our body with almost the entire daily recommended requirement of this mineral.

If you are keen to lose weight, you should incorporate wheat berries in your daily diet as they are really an incredible food. These whole grains are loaded with protein as well as dietary fiber. In other words, wheat berries helps us to remain full and satisfied for a long period.

As far as the nutrient content of wheat berries are concerned, many people are actually not surprised to learn that these whole grains are a wonderful source of dietary fiber. Dietary fiber not only facilitates digestion, but also helps in maintaining regular bowel movement.

Wheat berries also contain iron and when you consume these whole grains and other foods that are rich in iron content it can help to reduce the chances of suffering from anemia, which is caused due to deficiency of iron. At the same time, iron promotes the production of new and healthy red blood cells (erythrocytes).

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