Health benefits of Ancient grains

Several studies have shown that ancient varieties are more beneficial to human consumption.

One of the results shows that ancient grain varieties have higher nutritional value. For example, one study (Benedettelli S. 2010) focuses on the effect of short-term dietary intake of bread made with a selected variety of ancient grain grown in Tuscany on a set of individuals. Twenty healthy subjects (median age, 39.5 years) were made to follow a 10-week diet containing bread (150 g/day) made from the test grain (test period) and, for the same period, a diet containing commercially available bread in the same quantity (control period).

Results highlighted the high content and unique composition in lignans of old cultivars, suggesting they should be used to produce a wide range of regular and specialty food products naturally enriched with health-promoting compounds.

Several other studies in Benedettelli 2013 seem to demonstrate that ancient grain contain more easily digestible gluten (Benedettelli 2013, 41) and a more diverse variety of nutrients. This has a positive impact in reducing IBS (irritable bowel symptom) and gluten intolerances.

Their genetic variety, their adaptability to local features and their performance in low environmental impact agriculture makes them suitable for a more sustainable agriculture.

To preserve all their nutritional value, ancient grains need to be stone ground and not decorticated in roller mills that only leave the starch of the endosperm of the seed. In addition, sour dough is preferred when making bread while traditional methods that do not heat the dough are favoured for making pasta.