Freekeh is the “new” supergrain that has actually been around since the ancient times. We have just begun to tackle its numerous nutrition benefits, and it might just take quinoas place on the throne. Why? Well, it has more proteins and twice as much fiber than quinoa, thus you will feel full longer. In addition to being rich in proteins and fiber, it has many other health benefits.
So, what it is? Freekeh is actually a wheat that is harvested before it’s ripe, while the seeds are still green and soft thus retaining many of its nutrients. After it’s been harvested, it is dried in the sun and then carefully burned to remove the straw and chaff, leaving only the grain that has a slightly smoky and nutty taste.
Freekeh has been popular in Mediterranean and Middle East for a long time now, and its popularity has begun spreading due to its numerous benefits. This wheat improves your digestive health and due to its low glycaemic index, it can help manage and prevent type 2 diabetes.
Freekeh is full of healthy nutrients
Freekeh is full of proteins, fibers, vitamins and minerals such as calcium, iron and zinc. 100 grams of freekeh contains
- 14.9 g of protein
- 12.9 g of fiber
- 31 mg of zinc
- 32 mg of iron
- 370 mg of calcium
It also contains magnesium and potassium, it has low fat content and it’s considered a low-carb food. If we take a look at the nutrition profile of quinoa , we can see why freekeh is the new superfood – in 100 grams of quinoa, there are 8 grams of protein and 5.2 grams of fiber, compared to 14.9 grams of protein and 12.9 grams of fiber in 100 grams of freekeh.
100 grams of quinoa contains:
- 8 g of protein
- 5.2 g of fiber
- 2 mg of zinc
- 2.8 mg of iron
- 31.5 mg of calcium
Freekeh improves your digestive health
Freekeh contains prebiotics that help the growth of healthy bacteria in your bowl system that can be beneficial for people suffering from various digestive problems such as diarrhea, leaky gut syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease and candida virus.
According to a study conducted by CSIRO , the consumption of freekeh was beneficial in improving bowel health and in improving conditions such as constipation. It may also result in diminishing the risk for developing diseases such as colorectal cancer.
Freekeh may help prevent and control type 2 diabetes
Freekeh has low glycemic index, which means it causes low rise in blood sugar levels. Another study conducted by CSIRO indicated that the consumption of freekeh resulted in a low insulin response, which further suggests its benefits for patients suffering from type 2 diabetes.
Freekeh is good for your muscles
One serving of freekeh has around 2.27 grams of glutamic acid. So, why is glutamic acid important for our muscles? When we are physically active, the demand for glutamic acid increases as it is necessary for building and maintaining muscles. Thus, freekeh is the type of food that can help you increase the intake of glutamic acid and build endurance.
Freekeh is beneficial for your eyes
Freekeh contains the antioxidant lutein, which is especially beneficial for eyes in terms of preventing age-related eye degeneration, as suggested by the research at the University of Adelaide.
Freekeh helps with weight controls
As mentioned earlier, freekeh is quite high in proteins – 12.9 grams in 100 grams of freekeh. Having that much fiber, freekeh will make you feel full for a longer period of time, thus helping you avoid eating snacks in between meals.
Are there any side effects to taking freekeh?
There are no known side effects of freekeh, except that is not recommended for people who are sensitive to gluten, as this wheat contains it.
Wholegrain or cracked freekeh?
You can find freekeh in two different varieties: wholegrain and cracked. The only difference between these two varieties is that the cracked version has been broken down into smaller pieces, which makes the cooking process faster. The cracked freekeh has a slightly different texture, similar to quinoa or bulgur. You can choose the wholegrain or cracked variety based on your preferences or the texture you want to achieve when preparing a meal.
Delicious freekeh recipes
If you are not sure how to cook freekeh, we give you some healthy and delicious recipes to try and make at home.
Butternut and cranberry freekeh salad
Even though this is a salad, as freekeh is so packed with proteins, this salad can actually be a complete meal. Butternut and cranberry are a great combination of flavors and add a true splash of color into this salad. It is rather easy to make, and you can bring the leftovers as a healthy lunch at work.
Easy Mexican freekeh pilaf
Full of healthy colorful vegetables and easy to make, the whole family will enjoy eating this pilaf. It is ideal to prepare when you are busy as it will take only 10 minutes to prepare, and then you leave it to cook.
Freekeh, zucchini and pistachio salad
This is another great and healthy recipe for all salad lovers. The preparation process is rather simple and not time consuming, with a simple, yet tasteful fresh lemon juice and olive oil dressing. You can also add other vegetables according to your preferences.
Freekehlicious Pumpkin and Chocolate Scones
If you love sweets that are both healthy and delicious, this is the perfect recipe for you. This is a healthy treat full of fiber, protein and calcium.
Lemon coconut freekeh cookies
Healthy and mouthful bites that you can eat as a snack. They are crunchy and will really make you feel full.