Einkorn vs Modern Wheat
Einkorn has never been hybridised. This means that although it does contain gluten, the gluten has a different structure and only contains the “A” genome and not the “D” genome of gluten. Modern wheat has been crossed with two different goat grasses over time. One of those goat grasses contained the D genome of gluten, bringing with it many changes to the protein structure of today’s wheat, and is held to be responsible for much of the gluten sensitivity that is experienced nowadays.
Research has shown that Einkorn has a different starch structure, much smaller and more tightly compact. Wheat contains two different types of starch – amylose and amylopectin. Amylose releases and is absorbed slowly into the digestive system, whereas amylopectin is the faster releasing and digesting starch which can spike blood sugar rapidly. Einkorn’s starch structure is made of more of the slow release amylose than amylopectin, furthermore Einkorn has less amylose than other grains meaning that overall it has less of the starches that spike blood sugar.
Finally, Einkorn is classed as a diploid (in line with most other plants), meaning it only has two sets of chromosomes whereas modern wheat has six. Studies have shown that the DNA of Einkorn‘s gluten structure is radically different because Einkorn does not contain certain high molecular weight “glutenins” that are present in other types of wheat. It is as pure as it was over ten thousand years ago, unlike the wheat of today which was developed by cross breeding and genetic manipulation programmes that really took a hold in the 1960’s. Almost all of the wheat eaten today is a high yield, dwarf wheat with a higher gluten content that is sadly bereft of much of the nutrition that gave bread its original moniker, “the Staff of Life”.
Not only does Einkorn contain more protein, vitamins, minerals and fatty acids than modern wheat, its nutrients are more bio-available to the body due to it containing over 50% less phytic acid than regular wheat. Phytic acid inhibits the absorption of nutrients whereas the nutrition from Einkorn comes in a form that is easily absorbed by the body. Because Einkorn doesn’t wreak havoc on the digestive system it is in a better condition to absorb the nutrients from food consumed. Einkorn is high in protein, fibre, vitamin A, B vitamins and many important minerals.
Einkorn is four times higher in beta-carotene (vitamin A) than regular wheat. It is also rich in the antioxidant compounds lutein and zeaxanthin – especially beneficial to the eyes, they help the retina absorb blue light and act as a shield against the damaging effects of this light as it enters the eyes. Getting enough of these nutrients can help to prevent cataracts and macular degeneration in later years.
Type 2 Diabetes
In a recent study at the Department of Endocrinology and Internal Medicine, Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark, they looked at the effects of ancient wholegrain wheats (Einkorn, Emmer, Spelt and Rye), on the development and progression of type 2 diabetes. Findings showed a down-regulation of hepatic genes, a phenomenon in which a cell decreases the quantity of a cellular component in response to an external variable (grain). Each diet showed a remarkable effect of the decreasing of cell production relating to glucose
Folklore and history
Literally meaning "one-grain" in German, Einkorn was the first grain ever cultivated. During the Bronze Age (6000-3000 BCE) Einkorn became one of mankind’s main crops. However around 2000 BCE the importance of Einkorn began to decline and its cultivation slowly disappeared in favour of high-yield species, such as Emmer. As a result, the unique flavour of Einkorn disappeared almost completely and could only be found in remote European areas for many years. Only in Italy was it still used as animal feed as pigs fed with Einkorn, allegedly, grew faster, were healthier and had shinier bristles.
It is proven that the world-famous prehistoric man, also known as “Ötzi”, who lived about 5300 years ago, ate a meal of meat, herbs and Einkorn bread as his last meal.
Known as nature’s first and oldest wheat, Einkorn has been around for tens of thousands of years, with the first domestication of this wild grain occurring around ten thousand years ago. Interestingly it not only survives but thrives in soils where most other types of wheat do not.
This ancient grain has been making a well deserved comeback in health conscious circles, with a higher protein, vitamin, essential fats and mineral content than present day wheat. It is also much easier on the digestive system, having not been incessantly tampered with like its modern day counterparts.
Einkorn Grains can be used in many dishes including; soups, stews, salads, breakfast dishes and to cook up a hearty porridge.
Einkorn Flour can be 100% substituted for regular flour in baking and breadmaking.
Einkorn contains; protein, fibre, essential fatty acids, vitamins A, B1, B2, B3 & B6, potassium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, manganese and antioxidants.
Not to be consumed by those with coeliac disease.
If you have gluten intolerance please speak with your healthcare practitioner before consuming Einkorn.