Coffee Talk / Foodie / Health

EINKORN: Ancient Wheat Back From The Dead

Einkorn is an ancient grain that has never been hybridized, (genetically crossbreed from two different varieties), and as a result, it still contains only two chromosomes.

It is becoming something of a rising star among foodies and gluten sensitive groupies who are just now recognizing it’s health benefits.  Higher in nutrients, minerals and protein, this ancient grain is making a comeback quit literally from the dead.

Photo: Christina Dawson

One of the oldest varieties of wheat in the world, it virtually fell off the radar until 1991, when a couple wandered  into the Italian Alps to do a bit of hiking.  There, they discovered a mans body, partly encased in a glacier.

They named the IceAge man,”Otzi”, and discovered that the 5,000 year old male had einkorn wheat just before he died.  This variety of wheat had been lost to obscurity up until this time.   For thousands of years man has been unable to tinker with it’s DNA.  Now Einkorn is making a comeback, only 22 years in production, it is one of the only grains to remain as nature intended.

Einkorn is gaining popularity among the health conscious for it’s low gluten, high nutrient properties.  It is more readily digestible in the human body because it remains in it’s pure state.   Many of the wheat varieties today have been manipulated to produce higher yields by stripping out most of the nutrients.

“We are now able to separate the nutritious components of the grain (the bran and germ) away from the endosperm, where most of the starchy carbs are contained.

This led to an obvious reduction in nutrient density and gave refined wheat the ability to spike blood sugar very fast.” (HealthLine newsletter)

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Because of these modifications in the genetic make-up, there ends up being more gluten in modern bread.  Is it a coincidence that so many people are now complaining of gluten sensitivity?

Studies and doctors around the country are seeing a rise in celiac disease in the United States.  People are now starting to ask, why?  What is actually being done to our food anyway?  Do you feel bewildered?  Well, you’re not alone.

According to the web based Healthline newsletter report, “modern wheat has adverse effects on cholesterol, blood mineral content and inflammatory markers, potentially contributing to disease.”

With all the fuss about wheat these days, it’s nice to know that there is an alternative.  Einkorn, may just be the answer.   If it was good enough for “Otzi” the IceMan, it’s probably good enough for us.  Let’s resurrect this ancient grain and use our purchasing power to demand good wholesome food for ourselves and our families.

Einkorn can be found online or in some whole food groceries around the country.

 

References:  Healthline,  Ancientgrains.com (Einkorn History and Origin), Einkorn.com

Photo: Christina Dawson