For some, carbohydrates are a big no-no, but actually, healthy carbohydrates can be a huge advantage in diet and lifestyle. Quinoa, barley and brown rice are now becoming mainstream, but freekeh, pronounce "free-ka", is a super grain that definitely needs more attention. Dating back to ancient times, freekeh originates from roasted green wheat grains and is quite beneficial for stomach health.
Derived from the arabic term “al-freek” meaning “what is rubbed”, the super grain was labeled way before 2300BC when villagers set a wheat field on fire. They discovered rubbing off the burnt layer resulted in a delicious green wheat. It is derived from fresh durum wheat, sun dried then roasted.
Improves Intestinal Health
- Increases the sustenance of good bacteria, bifidobacteria and lactobacilli, which helps digestion.
- Freekeh has 4 times the amount of fiber than brown rice.
- Freekeh increases bowel excretion.
- Balances the Ph in the body.
- Helps prevent colon cancer and diverticulitis.
- Prevents constipation.
- Manages Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Freekeh is potent in resistant starch, meaning it will not digest in the small intestine. It continues to the larger intestine where bacteria breaks down the resistant starch into short chain fatty acids, now considered a soluble fiber, keeping the bowel healthy. Besides holding prebiotic properties, the young grain contains more protein, vitamins and minerals than a mature grain.
Not Gluten Free
Freekeh is not completely free of gluten, but is not as harmful as white rice would be to someone sensitive to gluten. This may be due to harvesting the young grain before particular protein combinations have a chance to develop.
With a smoky aroma, it has a crunchy texture with a toasted nutty flavor. It can be prepared as a side dish along meat, fish or poultry. It works well blended into veggie burgers and stuffings. It can be topped on salads, tossed into soups or used for baking breads, pastas or cakes. Freekeh is a perfect breakfast food, topped with cinnamon, apples and nuts.
One cooked serving of freekeh provides:
- 4-8 grams of fiber
- 2.7 grams good fat
- 6-12 grams of protein
- 53 mg. of calcium
- 4-5 mg. iron
- 1.7 mg. zinc
- 170 calories
1 dried cup yields to 3 cups of cooked freekeh. Freekeh is a good carb for diabetes patients. It has a low glycemic load and an excellent insulin response.
The grain can be found either whole grain or cracked, but each are cooked the same way. It is available in most healthy grocers, Middle Eastern food stores and online.
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