Wheat is an ancient grain, which humans eat for more than 12,000 years. It played a vital role in the sacred rituals of many cultures. Greek, Roman, Sumerian and Finnish mythology had gods and goddesses of wheat.
Although I do not pray to the goddess of wheat, it plays an important part in feeding my family. In my kitchen I practically never use white flour, only whole wheat flour or atta, as it is called in India. This has one reason: White flour lacks the bran and the germ of the wheat grain, the parts which offer the most nutrition.
From a health point of view refining flour makes no sense at all. Whole wheat is a good source of dietary fiber, manganese and magnesium which help prevent many diseases.Different research studies show that eating frequently whole grains can help avoid type 2 diabetes and the forming of gallstones. Food rich in fiber keeps your colon moving and can help to protect you and your loved ones from breast and other hormone related cancers, colon cancer, childhood asthma and heart disease.
Recently scientists claimed whole grains may be even more beneficial as is known today. According to press reports research methods have overlooked many powerful phytonutrients in whole grains. It seems that for years researchers have only measured “free” forms of phytonutrients, which are immediately absorbed into the bloodstream. The “bound” forms however are attached to the walls of plant cells. They must be released by bacteria in the intestines to be absorbed by the body. This does not matter so much when you analyze fruits and vegetables, as they have more than 70 per cent “free” phytonutrients. But in whole grains “bound” phytonutrients make up 99 per cent, which so far have been ignored. This may help explain the low risk for colon cancer of populations eating diets high in fiber-rich whole grain.Whenever I buy whole wheat flour, I check out the manufacturing date. Instead of choosing a brand I choose the packet which is freshest.