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Wheat: Health Benefits, Uses, Dosage and Side Effects

By NS Desk | Herbs | Posted on :   23-Dec-2020

Wheat is one of the oldest, most popular, and widely cultivated grains in the world. It is also one of the most consumed grains in the world. It is consumed in different forms worldwide like chapattis, bread, noodles, pasta, oatmeal, cakes, brewing, etc. Wheat grain is consumed in the form of wheat flour, all-purpose flour, semolina, bran, etc. It is helpful in weight management, curing piles, and other problems due to its various properties.
 
Nutritional Value and Health Benefits of Wheat
Wheat has a plant-based source and rich in carbohydrates, dietary fiber, proteins, and minerals. Wheat's outer layer, also known as the wheat bran, has high fiber content, also known as roughage. This adds bulk to the fecal matter and helps in the easy passage by adding moisture through the intestines due to its laxative properties. This reduces intestinal transit time and eases motion. This also makes it beneficial for piles.
 
Wheat is rich in various phenolic acids, flavonoids, and lignans that have potential anti-tumor activity and are considered potent for curing stomach cancer.  It prevents the growth and proliferation of cancer cells by promoting apoptosis in cancerous cells.
 
Due to the presence of a protein called gluten, it may cause allergies to some people. So, such gluten intolerant people should consult a doctor and avoid consuming Wheat.
 
Benefits of Wheat for Skin
Wheat germ oil produced from the embryo of the Wheat has anti-oxidant properties. Wheat germ has vitamin E, riboflavin, and many trace minerals. Wheat germ oil is a rich source of vitamin E, D, and A, proteins, and lecithin and is used in the treatment of dryness, itching, and tanning of the skin.
 
Mixing the wheat powder with milk and honey can be applied on the face as a face pack to get clear and glowing skin. Wheat has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, which help in managing skin-related issues like treating scars, burns, itching, etc.
 
Various Synonyms used for Wheat
Gehun, Triticum aestivum, Godhi, Godhuma, Bahudugdha, Godumai, Godumalu Godumbaiyarisi
 
TREATING DISEASES/HEALTH PROBLEMS USING WHEAT
 
●    Constipation

Science

Ayurveda

 The high amount of insoluble fiber content in the Wheat bulks up the fecal matter and increases the bowel movement through the intestines. Its potent laxative properties increase fecal moisture, which helps in the easy removal of waste from the body.

 

The Guru (heavy) nature of Wheat and fiber-rich content add the bulk to the stool. And the Sara (mobility) nature increases the intestinal contractions and peristaltic movements. Thus resulting in easy bowel movement and removal of waste.

 
● Piles

Science

Ayurveda

Wheat is useful in managing the pain and discomfort associated with piles, which are also known as hemorrhoids. Wheat is rich in insoluble fiber, which bulks up the fecal matter and adds moisture to the stool. This helps in easy movement and digestion of food in the body.

 

The main cause of Arsh (piles in Ayurveda) is an unhealthy diet and a sedentary lifestyle. This results in the impairment of the three doshas, mainly Vata. An upset Vata can result in low digestive fire, further leading to constipation issues.  This causes swelling in the rectum area, leading to pile mass. Adding Wheat to the diet helps in controlling the problem because of its Sara (mobility) property. It balances the Vata due to its nature of Vata balancing and thus reduces the symptoms of piles.

 

 
● Irritable bowel syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder that affects the large intestine. Signs of IBS include cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea or constipation, or both. IBS is a chronic long term condition. Wheat is helpful in managing the IBS as it is rich in insoluble fiber that increases the bowel movement through the intestines and helps in easy removal of waste.
 
● Type 2 diabetes mellitus
Wheat is not found to be useful in curing or managing type 2 diabetes mellitus.
 
● Stomach cancer
Although there is a lack of scientific evidence, Wheat might be useful in fighting stomach cancer due to its richness in fiber and other nutrients like various phenolic acids, flavonoids, and lignans, which have anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor properties.
 
● Breast cancer
According to science experts, Wheat has anti-oxidants and antiproliferative properties. It reduces free radicals and helps in killing cancer cells. Wheat is also rich in fiber, which adsorbs dietary carcinogens, which helps in reducing the risk of the development of cancer. Thus, Wheat may be useful in managing breast cancer. 
 
RECOMMENDED DOSAGE OF WHEAT
● Wheat powder- the ¼-½ cup of wheat powder or as per requirement.
● Wheatpaste- the ¼-½ cup of wheat paste or as per requirement.
● Chapattis- 2-4 chapattis a day or as per the daily requirement.
 
TIPS TO USE WHEAT IN DIFFERENT FORMS
● Roasted Wheat flour Sweet Dish
a. Dry roast about ¼ cup of Wheat flour in a pan on low to medium heat for 25-30 minutes. b. Add 2 tablespoons of ground sugar to the pan and mix well. c. Roast for another 1-2 minutes. d. Add 2 tablespoons ground almond, and ⅛ tablespoon cardamom. e. Add some water to the mixture and let it cook for some time while stirring continuously. f. Garnish with dry fruits like almonds, cashews, raisins, and pistachios.
 
● Wheat chapatti
a. Sift 1 cup whole Wheat flour with a pinch of salt in a bowl. b. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil(or any other oil of your choice) and ¼ cup of water to it. c. Knead the dough until firm and elastic. d. Divide the dough into balls and roll each ball flat and round using a rolling pin. e. Heat a pan on medium heat and place the flat-rolled flour on it. f. Cook on both sides of the pan until golden-brown in color (approximately 1 minute on each side). g. Cook the chapatti for a few seconds on direct flame. h. Add a few drops of butter (ghee) to the cooked chapatti (optional).
 
● Wheat Face Mask
a. Boil 3 tablespoons of milk in a pan. b. Remove from the stove and let it cool down. c. Add 2 tablespoons of honey. d. Add ¼-½ cup of whole Wheat flour. e. Stir into a thick paste. f. Apply evenly on the face and neck. g. Allow it to dry naturally. h. Wash it off with normal water and pat dry with a towel.
 
 
Effectiveness of  Wheat in various diseases

●Likely effective                                   Constipation, Piles, Hypertension (high blood pressure) and Irritable bowel syndrome

●Likely ineffective                                  Type 2 diabetes mellitus

●Insufficient evidence of                                   Stomach cancer and Breast cancer

 
PRECAUTIONARY GUIDE WHILE USING WHEAT 
 
Advice from the Experts
Some people may develop celiac disease due to the intolerance of components in Wheat. So, such people are advised to consult their doctor for appropriate diet substitutions.
 
For Allergies
The presence of Gluten proteins may cause allergies to some people. Wheat, when consumed by such people, might cause baker's asthma and also something called rhinitis. While some allergies can take the form of Urticaria (or hives) to some people who come in contact with it. So, it is advisable to contact a doctor if one experiences such conditions after wheat consumption.
 
For Breastfeeding
Wheat is considered safe for consumption during the breastfeeding period.
 
For Pregnancy
Wheat is considered safe for the consumption of pregnant people.
 
FAQ’s about WHEAT
 
Is Wheat a better substitute for rice?
According to science, Wheat and Rice have different nutritional profiles even though they have similar calorific value and carbohydrate content. Wheat is richer in fiber, protein, and minerals than rice, but it takes more time to digest. Wheat also has a lower glycemic index, which makes it better than rice for diabetics.
While Ayurveda suggests choosing rice over Wheat if your Agni (digestive fire) is weak. Because Wheat has Guru (heavy) and Snigdha (oily or sticky) properties, making it time-consuming for the digestion process compared to rice; otherwise, both are an equally important part of a balanced diet.
 
Which country produces Wheat in the largest quantity in the world?
The largest producer of Wheat in the world is China. With 126 million metric tonnes of Wheat produced every year on about 24 million hectre of land area. India and Russia follow China in terms of wheat production.
 
Does Wheat provide oil, and is it useful?
Wheat grain has 3 parts, namely Bran (outermost layer), Endosperm (tissue around the embryo of seed), and Germ (embryo). The germ consists of essential nutrients such as plant proteins, fiber, vitamins, minerals (phosphorus, zinc, iron, selenium, and potassium), and fatty acids, which are proven to be beneficial for hair, skin, and overall health. The germ provides oil known as the wheat germ oil used in many commercial products such as skin creams, lotions, soap, and shampoo due to its richness in antioxidants and vitamin E, other nutrients.
 
Can Wheat consumption cause flatulence?
According to science, due to the mal-absorption of its carbohydrate content, Wheat may cause flatulence. While according to Ayurveda, Wheat has Guru (heavy) and Snigdha (oily or sticky) properties that make it difficult to digest for someone who has a weak Agni (digestive fire). This may become a cause for flatulence.
 
Does Wheat consumption cause intestinal inflammation?
Yes, Wheat may cause inflammation in the intestines by increasing intestinal permeability and initiating a pro-inflammatory immune response. Yes, Wheat may cause intestinal inflammation as it has Guru (heavy) and Snigdha (oily or sticky) properties, which makes it difficult to digest and causes intestinal irritation.
 
Can Wheat flour consumption cause health problems?
Selective breeding has altered the modern Wheat in order to produce enriched Wheat varieties. These varieties may cause a sugar spike and gluten intolerance in some people. Moreover, these modern Wheat varieties provide very few health benefits and have been stripped of all the good nutrients. No, Wheat flour is a part of a complete diet. It is a nourishing component that has various health benefits for the body. But if the Agni (digestive fire) is weak, it might upset the stomach and irritate the intestine. This is because it has Guru (heavy) and Snigdha (oily or sticky) properties, which make it difficult to digest.
 
Is Wheat helpful in losing weight?
Yes, Wheat may be useful in managing weight as it has high fiber content that leads to increased satiety and a feeling of fullness. It reduces energy intake. This helps in regulating the appetite and useful in managing weight loss. Wheat has a Guru (heavy) nature, which takes time to digest. This gives the feeling of satiety and reduces cravings. Thus, Wheat may be useful in managing weight loss.
 
 What are the health benefits of Wheat? 
Wheat is a rich source of dietary fiber, protein, minerals, and B-group vitamins, all of which are good for health. It may be useful in managing diseases such as breast and colon cancers, obesity, gastrointestinal disease, and cardiovascular diseases.
 
Are Wheat chapattis beneficial for diabetics?
Wheat chapattis have a property to lower the blood glucose levels. Hence, they are said to be useful for diabetic patients. However, In the case of type 2 diabetes, it may not be that useful.
 
Is Wheat helpful in curing cancer of the colon and rectum?
Yes, Wheat may be useful in managing cancer of the colon and rectum. Wheat contains fiber and lignans that have anti-tumor activity. It inhibits the growth and proliferation of cancer cells by promoting apoptosis in cancerous cells.
 
Can Wheat powder cause skin allergy when applied externally?
No, the Wheat powder helps in reducing skin inflammation and dryness due to its Ropan (healing) and Snigdha (oily) properties. It does not cause any allergy when applied externally.
 
How is Wheat good for the skin?
Wheat germ contains vitamin E, riboflavin, and many trace minerals. Wheat germ oil is a rich source of vitamin E, D, and A, proteins, and lecithin. Wheat germ oil also has an anti-oxidant property and is rich in fatty acids, and its topical application may be useful in managing skin irritation due to dryness. It helps in promoting blood circulation and protects against the harmful effects of the sun. Moreover, it may be useful in managing the symptoms of dermatitis.
 
Can Wheat flour be applied on the face?
Yes, Wheat flour has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory property which make it good for the face. It can be dusted over areas with scars, burns, itching, etc., to avoid infection and reduce inflammation.

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