The wheat (Triticum spp) is both the plant and the edible grain belonging to the grass family, they are divided between wild and cultivated.
The wordTriticum comes from Latin and means "broken", "threshed" or "crushed", and refers to the process of separating the husk from the seed.
The origin of wheat is located in ancient Mesopotamia, with indications that it was cultivated since 6,700 BC.
It was introduced into Mexico by the Spanish in 1520.
Today, wheat is one of the main crops, which together with corn and rice, supply 80% of the total food production in the world.
Despite being mostly consumed in the West, the main producer in the world is China, which although it is the country that threshes the most grain, it is India that uses the most surface area for cultivation.
Mexico is in 31st place, with Sonora and Baja California being the states with the highest production, representing 64% of national production (Atlas agroalimentario, 2017).
The consumption of wheat per person per year in Mexico is 57 kg and is through the consumption of bread, pasta and cookies.
What nutrients does it provide?
Wheat, like any cereal, has a high concentration of carbohydrates, which are what provide us with energy for several hours.
The most common way to consume wheat in Mexico is in processed products that use refined wheat flour, that is, the bran and germ have been removed.
Bran is the husk of the grain and is a source of insoluble fiber, which helps the absorption of wheat starches is not so rapid, to control blood cholesterol levels and to have better intestinal health.
For its part, the germ concentrates micronutrients, such as vitamins K, E and the B complex, and minerals, such as magnesium and phosphorus, as well as being rich in proteins and healthy fats.
There are products prepared with whole wheat flour that in theory should preserve, as their name indicates, all parts of the grain, however many times what the food industry does is add only the bran and leave out the germ, which as already mentioned It is the most nutritious part, because it easily rancid and shortens the shelf life of the product.
In order to obtain the benefits of the wheat grain, it is recommended to consume the whole grain cooked or germinated, that is, fresh, since in this way not only preserves the aforementioned nutrients, but also contains enzymes that make them more digestible.
In addition, it has been seen that sprouted wheat grains have 10 times more antioxidants than dry grain (Yashin Y.I, 2010). Antioxidants protect cells from processes related to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, among others.
What about gluten?
Gluten is a protein present in wheat, and in other cereals such as barley and rye.
Today, three wheat-related diseases are recognized: 1) celiac disease, 2) wheat allergy, and 3) gluten sensitivity (Sapone A, 2012).
It is estimated that one in every 140 Mexicans has celiac disease and a similar number could affect the other conditions.
The best way to know if you live with this condition is to perform the necessary tests (including a biopsy).
Today, many people self-diagnose and eat a gluten-free diet when it is not necessary.
There are studies that indicate that people who ate this diet without justification for a month affected their bacterial flora and immune system.
Therefore, if there is suspicion of celiac disease, allergy or sensitivity to gluten, it is recommended to see a specialist.
How is it recommended to consume it?
In Mexico, wheat is consumed in its most processed form, either as processed products (bread, pasta, flour) or ultra-processed products (cookies, cakes, etc.).
For the benefits mentioned above, it is recommended to consume whole wheat or in its most digestible and nutritious form: sprouted.
Today, packaged wheat germ is marketed, which can also be an option to prepare dishes, although it is preferable to consume the freshest and whole version.
Here we tell you how to prepare sprouted wheat:
• 1 glass canning jar of one liter
• 3 tablespoons of whole wheat
• ½ liter of water
• Allocate a warm and dark space for germination
1. Wash the grains and put them to soak in a jar with ½ liter of water. Cover the jar with a gauze or thin cloth and leave in a dark, warm place for 9 to 12 hours.
2. After the time, drain the water and rinse well with warm water.
3. In the same space where the grains were allowed to rest, position the jar horizontally (inclined), arranging them along the length of the jar, rinsing 2 to 3 times the first 3 days and then once a day. Keep the seeds moist and well oxygenated, otherwise it could create fungus excess water and mold lack of air.
4. On the 4th-5th day you can see the first shoots. When the shoots are 2 to 3 centimeters long, expose to indirect sunlight for about 2 hours so that the leaves turn green (chlorophyll process). This will favor the increase in vitamin C and make it taste more pleasant.
5. Once the germination process is finished, the sprouts can be kept refrigerated, well drained and dry. They can last about a week without problems, it is recommended to make frequent amounts of sprouts.
By Fiorella Espinosa