Wheat is getting roughed up lately by all kinds of people, from gluten free advocates to medical professionals. There certainly is no shortage of ammunition to call out wheat products as dangerous to your health, but do we really know the whole story about this popular grain?

Perhaps it is time to investigate all the features of wheat so you can get a more accurate picture and make better decisions.

The good

Believe it or not, there are benefits to wheat, even though the risks of modern wheat often far outweigh the nutritional value. However, if you source an ancient grain like Einkorn wheat, the health benefits go up tremendously and the downsides are substantially diminished. This becomes even truer when this kind of wheat is used to produce sour leavened bread, as opposed to those produced with commercial yeast.

Some of the nutritional benefits of whole grain wheat include:

  • Good source of B-vitamins including niacin, thiamin, vitamin B-6, riboflavin, folate, and pantothenic acid

  • Solid source of minerals, including manganese, selenium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, copper, and zinc

  • Quality source of protein

    • Great source of fiber

    In order to receive the majority of these benefits through bread, choose an ancient grain and use a sourdough starter to naturally leaven it, which will significantly lower the gluten content and activate food enzymes to make it much more digestible. In fact, research in Applied and Environmental Microbiology found that, when wheat bread is thoroughly fermented, gluten content drops to 12 ppm – a level that is deemed gluten-free!

    However, If you are very sensitive or allergic to gluten, you should still play the safe side and avoid wheat altogether.

    The bad

    Unfortunately, wheat is not what it used to be and as a result of our overconsumption of it, many people have slowly destroyed their digestive systems to the point that they have been diagnosed with various intestinal disorders, including celiac disease.

    As a result of the decades of hybridization of ancient grains, today’s wheat no longer resembles the wheat our digestive systems were intended to handle relatively easily. This hybridization has resulted in wheat with a much higher gluten content, which has caused symptoms such as gas, bloating, diarrhea, rashes, migraines, fatigue, arthritis, emotional issues, and intense intestinal discomfort.

    With wheat flour as the basis of so many products, it becomes very difficult to avoid and has made food options a bit trickier for those who are gluten intolerant.

    The ugly

    Most people focus on gluten when demonizing wheat consumption, and even though it definitely is a big factor, it may not be as perverse as a very common practice that many are unaware of that’s happening across the United States and the United Kingdom.

    This practice is the direct application of Roundup (glyphosate) to wheat fields just prior to the harvest stage in order to allow an earlier, easier, and bigger harvest. This dousing of poison directly on wheat kernels has been routine for the past 15 years and was suggested as early as 1980.

    Interestingly enough, the incidence of celiac disease has risen substantially and with a significant correlation to the increasing application of glyphosate since 1990. Although some maintain that glyphosate is not harmful, it’s becoming clear that it disrupts the proper functioning of the gut and contributes to the permeability of the intestinal wall, which can cause subsequent expressions of autoimmune disease symptoms.

    Considering that the gut is often considered the gateway to health, this practice has profound implications for anyone consuming conventional wheat products. This makes going organic and investigating ancient grains and traditional methods of preparation all that more important.

    Of course, how good a food is for you depends on it’s purity and your ability to properly assimilate it. That’s the ultimate litmus test. Your tolerance can also change if you work to clean up your inner ecology.

    Sources for this article include:


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    Derek Henry

    Derek Henry, Founder of Healing the Body and the THRIVE Academy, used nutrition, supplementation, and a holistic lifestyle to naturally unravel 13 chronic disease conditions that conventional or alternative medical professionals couldn't help him resolve. As a result of this one-in-a-million health transformation and the knowledge acquired in the process, he now educates, coaches, and inspires others to transform their health through a natural and holistic approach. Since 2014, he has helped his THRIVE Academy participants heal over 20 different chronic disease conditions, primarily related to digestive and autoimmune concerns.

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