Over the last several years, many who value health are becoming aware of the dangers of gluten, especially when it's consumed as modern wheat. Severe digestive distress, celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, ADHD, multiple sclerosis and even mental illnesses such as schizophrenia are just a few of the maladies linked to the protein in wheat, barley and rye. As reactions continue to escalate at a staggering rate in the United States, both researchers and private organizations are beginning to take a look at ancient cereal grains as a possible solution to our wheat troubles.
Commonly known as einkorn, Triticum monococcum is an intriguing heritage grain that was harvested as early as 16,000 BCE. Cultivation began during the Neolithic Era and early Bronze Age (10,000-4,000 BCE) and continued into the early 20th century, when much of einkorn production was replaced by hybridized, high-yield, pest-resistant strains of what we now recognize as modern wheat.
Einkorn is nutritionally superior to hard red wheat, supplying higher levels of protein, fat, phosphorous, potassium, pyridoxine and beta-carotene. It's also much lower in problematic gluten. Enthusiasts of einkorn believe it tastes better, lending a "light rich taste which left common bread wheat products tasteless and insipid by comparison," according to the ASHS publication Progress in New Crops. What's really garnering attention, however, is that einkorn may be nontoxic to individuals suffering from gluten intolerance.
Safe for celiacs?
Several studies indicate that einkorn could provide a new grain option for the millions with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. In one experiment, intestinal biopsies were taken from 12 treated celiac patients, as well as 17 control subjects, and cultured with either standard bread gliadin or einkorn gliadin for 24 hours. At the end of the testing, researchers concluded, "[This study shows] a lack of toxicity of T. monococcum gliadin in an in vitro organ culture system, suggesting new dietary opportunities for celiac patients."
Another study involved 12 celiac patients who had been adhering to a gluten-free diet for at least one year. In a single-blind, cross-over investigation, each participant was given einkorn wheat, rice or amygluten on days 0, 14 and 28. At the end of the study, researchers noted that, although "[n]o definite conclusion can be drawn on the safety of Tm [einkorn]. . . Tm was, however, well tolerated by all patients providing the rationale for further investigation on the safety of this cereal for CD patients."
Additionally, Norwegian researchers have identified a T-cell stimulatory gluten peptide in modern wheat which triggers an autoimmune response in people sensitive to the protein. Alpha-gliadin genes on wheat chromosome 6D appear to be the culprit. Of particular interest to individuals with celiac disease is that einkorn wheat does not contain this troublesome peptide. Further research is needed, but preliminary findings hold promise for those suffering from gluten reactions.
Learn more: www.naturalnews.com/043043_einkorn_wheat_gluten_intolerance_celiac_disease.html
Photo Credit: Øyvind Holmstad