Increased awareness about obesity, heart disease, hypertension and Type II diabetes has forced people across the globe to sit up and take notice of their diet. Many people are trying to avoid processed sugars and carbohydrates and replacing them with healthy alternatives. Wheat had gained immense popularity in recent past as many nutritionists believed that it is healthy and wholesome. However, things are about to change.
United States is the fourth largest producer of wheat in the world. It grows 60.3 million metric tons of the grain each year. Rise in wheat production and consumption started in the 1970s when people began to shift from animal products to grains. However, recent years have seen a significant decrease. Wheat consumption across America has dropped from 146.3 pounds per person in the year 2000 to 132.5 pounds per person in 2011.
Nutritional Value of Wheat
The nutritional value of wheat depends on the product. While 100g of wheat germ contains 26.7g of protein and 44.7g of carbohydrates, whole wheat flour contains 12.6 g of protein and 68.5g of carbohydrates. Processed wheat flour consists of 11.5g of proteins and 75.3g of carbohydrates.
Recent studies reveal that most wheat products available to the American consumers are devoid of valuable nutrients. They undergo 60 percent extraction which removes more than half of B vitamins, calcium, phosphorous, zinc, copper and fiber from it. Most pizzas, pastas and breads belong to this category. The one hundred percent whole wheat breads are also made from genetically modified strains that do not contain any nutritional value.
Say ‘No’ to Wheat Today
Wheat supplies close to 20 percent of total food calories globally. However, scientists want people to avoid it in its current form.
Scientists now believe that wheat elevates blood sugar levels and thereby, increases your risk of chronic illnesses such as Type II diabetes. Two slices of wheat bread have the same impact on your blood sugar levels as a bar of candy. Wheat also inhibits the absorption of essential nutrients in the digestive tract and irritates the intestines. This can lead to food-borne allergies, especially in young children.
Gluten is a form of protein found in all wheat products. It is responsible for the grain’s chewy texture. It also helps raise the dough. Your body does not have enzymes to digest this protein. Undigested gluten may induce an immune reaction that spreads across the body to cause chronic inflammation. It leads to serious conditions such as celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Your body converts unused carbohydrates into fat. The unwanted fats get stored in your abdomen and thighs. Apart from affecting your physical appearance, they also increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Wheat also contains chemicals such as lectins and phytic acid which contribute to inflammation and autoimmune disorders. Experts also believe that your body gets the required amounts of fiber from fruits and vegetables. Hence, you have no reason to consume grains such as wheat.
Alternatives to Wheat
The world is full of nutrient-rich alternatives. When you combine these foods in right amounts along with fruits, vegetables and healthy sources of protein, your body will get all the nutrients it requires. The foods are affordable and easily accessible as well. You just need to think differently.
The flour is made by grinding the meat of the dry coconut. It is nutritious and devoid of carbohydrates and gluten.
Buckwheat is small fruit that grows on the Fagopyrum plant. It was introduced to the population of United States during the colonial days. Buckwheat does not contain gluten and is low in carbohydrates. The seeds of the plant can be dried and grounded into flour. Try buckwheat pancakes this weekend. They are tasty and healthy.
Almond meal is made from almond seeds and offers a low-carbohydrate and gluten-free alternative to wheat.
Flax seed meal
Flax seeds are low in carbohydrates but are rich in proteins and omega-3 fatty acids. They are one of the most nutritious foods in the market today.
Corn flour is another choice. It is rich in carbohydrates but is completely gluten-free.
Many grocery and natural food stores offer these products. They are slightly more expensive than refined flour but are worth every cent you pay for them. You will notice a significant improvement in your overall health and well-being. You will also notice lower medical bills.
With more research and awareness, experts predict a significant decrease in global wheat consumption and production. It will be a positive step towards lowering the risk of several chronic illnesses.