We all tend to use the same foods over and over, with little to no variation in preparation. There is nothing wrong with this unless you are easily bored, or you lack any variety at all. Getting a wide variety of different foods in the diet can help you obtain a large variety of nutrients. Most people are familiar with oats, rice, pasta, breads, barley, cereal, etc. but when it comes to getting a variety with other whole grains, we don’t tend to branch out. Here is a write up about a readily available whole grain you may or may not have tried before called the Wheat Berry.
Wheat berries resemble other hearty whole grains, such as barley. They are extremely nutritious and offer a crunchy texture. Wheat berries offer all of the nutrients of a whole grain as they contain the germ, endosperm and bran. All wheat products, such as wheat flour, are made from wheat berries. With their exceptional nutrient content and crunchy texture, they are a tasty food choice on their own.
Wheat berries are not all alike and, in fact, there are several types that vary in texture, color and size. They are usually named after their growing season, gluten content and color. They are grown in winter or spring, may be hard versus soft wheat and red or white. Those most readily available in health food stores and some supermarkets include hard red spring and winter wheat berries, which are very chewy, high in protein and brownish-colored.
Wheat berries are high in carbohydrates and dietary fiber, as well as vitamins and minerals. Protein content varies somewhat. A normal serving of wheat berries is 1/4 cup dry which, when cooked, yields 1/2-cup serving. A 50 gram serving of hard red wheat berries, or about 1/4 cup uncooked, provides 163.5 calories, 1 gram of fat, 6.5 gram of protein, 35.5 gram of carbohydrates, 6 gram of dietary fiber and 1 milligram of sodium. Wheat berries are rich in vitamins B1 and B3; and the minerals magnesium, phosphorus, copper, manganese and selenium. B vitamins are important for a healthy nervous system and energy metabolism; magnesium along with phosphorus is essential for regulating blood pressure and building strong, healthy bones. Phosphorus is also needed to form part of DNA and RNA, activate some proteins in the body and store and transport energy. Copper is needed to form connective tissue, blood cells and promote function of the nervous, immune and cardiovascular systems. Manganese aids in bone formation and the metabolism of carbohydrates and proteins while selenium supports immune system and thyroid gland function.
Wheat berries, like most whole grains, are an excellent source of dietary fiber — which promotes digestive health; helps lower blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels; aids in weight management and encourages regular bowel movements. The Harvard School of Public Health reports that whole grains, such as wheat berries, contain plant estrogens or phytoestrogens that may reduce your risk of developing certain types of cancers — particularly in conjunction with minerals found in whole wheat — such as magnesium, selenium, copper, and manganese.