Grain of the Week: Freekeh

Grain of the Week: Freekeh

 

Pronounced free-kah, in short, is wheat. This Arabic grain is a low-carb form of ancient wheat that has up to four times more fiber than brown rice. Freekeh kernels are harvested while they’re young and then roasted. They contain more vitamins and minerals, such as immune-boosting selenium, than other grains. Once in your stomach, freekeh acts as a prebiotic, stimulating the growth of healthy bacteria that aid digestion.

Freekeh is low in fat and high in protein and fiber. Serving for serving, freekeh has more protein and twice as much fiber as quinoa. This means freekeh keeps you feeling full long after you've eaten it, so it's a smart option for anyone focused on weight loss Dietary fiber and body weight. Slavin, J.L. Department of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota. Nutrition, 2005 Mar;21(3):411-8. Effects of a high protein diet on body weight and comorbidities associated with obesity. Clifton, P. Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, University of South Australia, Adelaide, SA, Australia. The British Journal of Nutrition, 2012 Aug;108 Suppl 2:S122-9.. Freekeh is also lower on the glycemic index, making it a great choice for people managing diabetes or those just trying to keep their blood sugar steady. To top it off, this power-packed grain is high in iron, calcium, and zinc.

 

Nutrition breakdown compared to other Whole Grains:

 

Nutritional components - One serving 42 grams

 

Quinoa

Brown rice

Farro

Freekeh

Calories

155

170

170

150

Total fat

1.3g

2g

1g

1.5g

Total carbohydrates

30g

38g

35g

30g

Dietary fiber

3g

2g

5g

6g

Protein

5.5g

4g

7g

6g

Calcium

0mg

0mg

2mg

25mg

Iron

2%

2%

1%

2.2mg

 

Cracked vs. Whole

Freekeh is sold as “whole” or “whole grain” and as “cracked.” That might seem confusing, but basically, “cracked” freekeh has just been broken into smaller pieces. This allows cracked freekeh to cook faster

 

How to Cook Freekeh

Freekeh is really simple to prepare and similar to other grains.  Combine the freekeh with water in a saucepan, bring it to a boil, then cover it and allow it to simmer. Cooking instructions will vary depending on the manufacturer (so it’s recommended to follow the instructions on your package). In general, though, whole freekeh will need to cook for about 35-45 minutes, whereas cracked freekeh will need only about 10-25 minutes (depending on how finely cracked it is). Similar to quinoa, we find that 1 cup of uncooked freekeh yields about 3 cups cooked.

Is Freekeh Gluten-Free?

Freekeh is not gluten-free but some studies have found it may be easier for slightly gluten-sensitive people to digest. The thought here is that, although freekeh contains gluten, the harvesting and processing methods denature the gluten and may also cause other differences in the gluten and enzyme structure of the final product. 

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