Triticale is a grain that combines the nutritional benefits of both wheat and rye. Its high levels of protein, carbohydrates, and dietary fiber make it a versatile ingredient for breakfast cereals, snack bars, breads, pasta, and even beverages.
History And Production
The history of triticale goes back to the late 1800s, when scientists began experimenting with hybridizing wheat and rye together.
They found that the combination had some interesting characteristics that could potentially improve both the yield and nutritional value of wheat.
In fact, triticale was first produced in the mid-19th century and the intention behind the project was to gain the high yields and quality of wheat with disease tolerance and unique nutritional compositions of rye.
How To Eat Triticale
If you’re not deterred by the dubious history associated with triticale, you can use it instead of wheat and many other common grains. You just need to be prepared to alter the proportion of ingredients.
Triticale has been shown to be inferior to both bread making with whole grains and durum flour for pasta, but generally superior to rye.
It has a similar nutritional profile to wheat but is lower in gluten so it’s often used as a replacement grain. Overnight triticale porridge is another popular way to consume it.
This hybrid cereal option is more nutritious than either rye or wheat. It boasts a higher content in dietary fiber, protein, iron, copper, phosphorus, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and manganese, as well as essential nutrients like the entire B-family in significant amounts and vitamin E.
The nutritional profile of triticale is similar to that of oats, barley, brown rice, corn, millet, sorghum, quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, teff, and flaxseed.
However, because triticale contains gluten, it cannot be used as a substitute for bread products containing wheat flour or used for a gluten free diet.
Despite its amazing health benefits and nutritious nature, triticales is only grown in 29 countries around the globe and the total harvest yield amounts to just over 15 million tons, which makes it less popular than many other grains.
However, despite being relatively rare, triticale does offer several advantages over other cereal crops, including wheat and rye.
As we’ve seen, In terms of genetics, triticale shares traits similar to wheat and rye, although there are slight differences in the way each plant grows.
For example, triticale tends to grow taller than wheat and rye, while rye plants tend to grow shorter. This difference in height allows triticale to produce larger ears of grain compared to wheat and rye.
Additionally, triticale produces much smaller seeds than wheat and rye, which reduces the amount of processing required to make flour.
Another advantage of growing triticale is that farmers don’t need to use pesticides and fertilizers, since triticale doesn’t require a lot of water.
Furthermore, triticale requires fewer hours of sunlight than wheat and rye, allowing farmers to work the land during periods of low light.
As we’ve mentioned triticale has many health benefits, let’s take a look at them.
1. Helps Control Diabetes
Triticale is a hybrid grain that combines the best qualities of both wheat and This grain is easy to digest and absorb nutrients.
Triticale contains 50% more dietary fiber than either wheat or rye alone. This helps keep blood sugar levels balanced, which is important for diabetics.
Triticale can be used as an alternative to whole grain products like bread, bagels, crackers, and pastas because it provides all of the same nutrition without the extra calories.
It also works well in baked goods such as cookies, cakes, muffins, and brownies.
2. Improved Digestion
The health benefits of triticale aren’t limited to just being high in fiber. In fact, there are many studies showing that it might improve digestion, too.
One study showed that people who ate whole-grain bread such as triticale had lower levels of fecal bacteria than those who ate white bread.
Another study showed that people who consumed a diet rich in whole grains had less gas and fewer bowel movements.
A third study suggests that consuming a diet rich in whole foods may reduce the risk of developing colon cancer.
3. Boosts Circulation
Triticale contains iron, copper, and folate, which are essential nutrients for producing healthy red blood cells.
A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that rats fed diets containing 25% triticale had higher hemoglobin concentrations and packed cell volumes compared to those fed diets without it.
In addition, the researchers noted that the animals consuming the triticale diet showed increased activity and improved overall performance.
They concluded that triticale could help boost circulation, improve metabolism, and provide the body with balanced energy.
4. Supports Cell Production
Triticale contains about 20% more protein than whole wheat flour, and it has been shown to increase overall cellular activity in the body. In addition, it has a high concentration of manganese, which helps regulate enzymes and metabolism.
Folic acid is another important nutrient found in triticale. Studies show that people who eat foods rich in folate tend to have fewer problems with cardiovascular disease.
5. Boosts Bone Growth
Triticale is an impressive plant, containing over 20 essential nutrients, including zinc, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, selenium, and manganese.
These elements are vital to bone health and development, and are often lacking in diets that lack adequate sources of protein.
Manganese is also important for bone health, since it plays a role in calcium metabolizing.
Triticale is rich in magnesium, another mineral that supports bone health. Magnesium is involved in over 300 metabolic reactions, and deficiency leads to osteoporosis.
As such, triticale could help those suffering from weak bones, or those who are experiencing bone loss due to aging.
6. Helps Asthma sufferers
The high amounts of manganese in triticale which is a cofactor for manganese superoxide disuqmutase, is a powerful antioxidant.
This enzyme helps protect against free radicals, which are molecules that cause damage to cells.
Oxidative stress is linked to many diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and arthritis.
7. May Help Those With Neural Tube Defects
The deficiency of folic acid during pregnancy can lead to serious birth defects. This includes neural tube defects such as spina bifida, where the spinal cord does not close completely.
Folate helps prevent these conditions because it plays a role in DNA synthesis and cell division.
In addition, folic acid helps maintain healthy red blood cells and prevents homocysteine buildup, which can cause cardiovascular problems.
Other benefits of triticale include :
- Increased heart health, thanks to its high levels of potassium, magnesium, and vitamin B1. These vitamins help the heart muscle contract properly and keep your heartbeat steady.
- Lower cholesterol, since it contains less saturated fat than most other grains.
- Higher levels of antioxidants, like lutein and zeaxanthin, which may reduce the risk of macular degeneration.
- More energy – since it contains more carbohydrates than other grains.
- More Protein – Triticale has significantly more protein than other grains, with 12% compared to just 6%. The protein content of triticale is similar to that of meat.
- Greater Nutrient Value – Triticale is richer in nutrients than other grains, so it provides more nutritional value per calorie.
- Better Digestibility – Since triticale is a hybrid, it contains both gluten and non-gluten proteins. Gluten is found only in wheat, barley, and rye. Non-gluten proteins are found in all grains except rice.
Whole Grains And Health
Researchers have been studying the relationship between whole grains and health since the early 1900s. In the 1960s, scientists began looking into how dietary fiber might affect blood cholesterol levels.
They discovered that eating whole grains could help reduce LDL (“bad”) cholesterol while increasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol. This led to research showing that whole grains could prevent heart attacks and strokes.
In recent decades, however, many nutrition experts have questioned whether the benefits of whole grains outweigh the risks.
Some believe that too much whole wheat bread, pasta, cereal, and rice may increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, and certain cancers.
Others say that it’s difficult to compare one study to another because there isn’t enough evidence to prove cause and effect.
The Harvard School of Public Health recently published a review of the literature on whole grains and health.
Researchers concluded that “whole grains provide significant protection against chronic diseases.
Adding triticale to your diet is an easy way to get more whole grains without having to change what you eat.
It’s also a good source of folate, which is important for preventing birth defects and other illnesses and conditions.
There are many ways to add triticale into the diet:
- Add it to salads or soups.
- Make muffins, pancakes, waffles, biscuits, or cookies from it.
- Use it as a side dish at dinner.
- Mix it into hot cereal.
- Triticale can be used in place of regular wheat flour when baking.
You can find triticale in natural foods stores, supermarkets, and online retailers