Traditionally, wheat-breeding programs aimed to improve grain yield and protein content, as well as baking quality, neglecting nutritional and phytochemical characteristics. However, little attention was paid to the potential impacts on human health.
The health benefits of ancient wheat
Scientific studies have demonstrated ancient wheat varieties exhibit a higher nutraceutical value than modern varieties. This provides higher health benefits, including the prevention of chronic-degenerative diseases.
Furthermore, in several human clinical studies the substitution of modern wheat products with ancient wheat products improved metabolic, oxidative and inflammatory profiles of both healthy volunteers and patients suffering from non-infectious chronic diseases like Irritable Bowel Syndrome, cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (Sofi, 2010; Sofi, 2013; Sofi 2014; Whittaker, 2015; Whittaker, 2017; Dinu, 2018 in press).
Increasing gluten sensitivity: a consequence of modern wheat?
Between 12% and 20% of people in the industrialized world can no longer eat modern wheat products without health or digestive problems. Modern wheat varieties show higher levels of gluten allergenic epitopes and other kinds of toxic proteins (van den Broeck HC, 2010; Zevallos, 2017), and some experts assert that the recent rise of gluten and wheat hypersensitivity syndromes is a consequences of modern wheat types (De Lorgeril, 2014).
In summary, the available scientific information raises interesting considerations on ancient wheat that needs further studies to better understand the mechanisms responsible for these beneficial effects (Dinu, 2017).
‘1st International Conference of Wheat Landraces for Healthy Food Systems’
The ‘1st International Conference of Wheat Landraces for Healthy Food Systems‘ will bring together leading scientists to discuss the topics of landraces, including modern populations, ancient and heritage wheat with a focus on health and nutrition.
The event will take place on 13-15 June in Bologna, Italy. The conference is organized by IFOAM – Organics International, Kamut International, ltd. and Kamut Enterprises of Europe bvba, and Alma Mater Studiorum – University of Bologna.
For more information go to wheat-landraces.ifoam.bio or contact Patrick German at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Dinu M. et al., The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 52 (2018) 1–9
Dinu M. et al., Journal of the American College of Nutrition, accepted for publication
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Sofi F. et al., J Med Food 13 (3) 2010, 1–6
Sofi F. et al., European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2013 Feb;67(2): 190-5
Van den Broeck HC et al., Theor Appl Genet. 2010 Nov;121(8): 1527-39
Whittaker A. et al., Nutrients 2015, May 11;7(5): 3401
Whittaker A. et al., European Journal of Nutrition, 2017 Apr;56(3): 1191-1200
Zevallos et al., Gastroenterology 2017 Apr;152(5): 1100-1113
Source: Press release IFOAM – Organics International, 07.04.2018