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6 Fascinating Health Benefits Of Farro, The Nutrient-packed Ancient Grain

An ancient grain that has been in use for thousands of years, farro does not refer to a single type of grain. The ancient wheat grain is the amalgam of three different grains, such as einkorn (Triticum monococcum), emmer (Triticum dicoccum) and Spelt (Triticum spelta). However, the most common form of farro is emmer wheat, which is the focus of our article today.

Slightly larger than barley in size, the ancient grain is a particular type of wheat and is therefore not gluten-free. However, in comparison to other common types of wheat, farro is low in gluten and has a nutty-sweet flavour [1] .

Packed with nutrient such as fibre, protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidant, the grain is a great and healthy alternative to refined grains [2] .

Nutritional Value Of Farro

100 g of farro contains 374 kcal energy and 0.79 mg iron. The remaining nutrients in the grain are as follows [3] :

  • Carbohydrate 70.33 g
  • Protein 15.38 g
  • Total lipid 2.2 g
  • Total dietary fibre 6.6 g
  • Sugars 2.2 g
  • Calcium 44 mg
  • Sodium 22 mg

Health Benefits Of Farro

From boosting your immune system to aiding your digestion, farro can positively impact your health in various ways [4] .

1. Improves heart health

The high levels of fibre in farro can help boost your cardiovascular health by reducing the high cholesterol levels and thereby limiting the onset of atherosclerosis, heart attack, and stroke [5] .

2. Aids weight loss

Farro is defined as the weight-loss-friendly food suggesting its role in promoting a healthy weight-loss. High in fibre and protein, the grain help keeps you feeling full and thereby limiting the onset of hunger pangs [6] . Also, the low glycemic index of the grain makes it get digested slowly and thereby results in a slower rise in blood sugar and steady energy release [7] , helping in preventing cravings.

3. Boosts immune system

Packed with vitamin C, consuming farro can help strengthen your overall immune system. The vitamin C help stimulates the production of white blood cells which contributes toward this health benefit [8] .

4. Promotes digestion

The large quantities of fibre present in farro aids in bulking up the stool and thereby promoting digestion [9] . It also helps soothe the inflammation in the gut and eliminate symptoms of constipation.

5. Assists blood circulation

Consuming farro regularly can help improve your blood circulation because the moderate amounts of iron in the grain promotes the production of every red blood cell, which boosts oxygenation and resource delivery throughout your body [10] .

6. May alleviate headaches

Some studies point out that consuming farro can help prevent the onset of hypoglycemia-induced migraines as the grain is a complex carbohydrate [11] .

Apart from the aforementioned, farro is also asserted to help fight cancer, aid diabetes treatment and can prevent oxidative stress and chronic diseases.

Adding Farro To Your Diet

A healthy and nutrient-rich grain, farro is a great addition to your daily diet. There are various ways through which you can add it to your diet and they are as follows [12] :

  • Salad
  • Soup
  • Stew
  • Casserole
  • Risotto
  • Combined with yoghurt, milk or cream, fresh fruit and honey

Vegan Farro Recipes

1. Spring farro asparagus salad

Ingredients[13]

  • 1½ to 2 cups cooked farro
  • 12 to 14 asparagus stalks
  • 1 cup green peas
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
  • 4 to 6 radishes, trimmed and sliced
  • ½ bell pepper, diced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup sliced sun-dried tomatoes
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • Juice of ½ to 1 lemon
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions

  • Trim the bottoms of the asparagus and cut it into small lengths.
  • Steam the asparagus and peas with 1 cup of water just until bright green and tender-crisp.
  • Drain, rinse with cool running water, then drain again.
  • Add the asparagus, peas, and remaining ingredients to the cooked grain into a bowl.
  • Stir and serve!

2. Baked farro with tomatoes & herbs

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups uncooked farro
  • ½ tomato, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup finely chopped shallot
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • In a large saucepan over medium, sauté the garlic and shallot in 1 tablespoon of olive oil for 2 minutes.
  • Stir in the farro and sauté for another minute.
  • Pour in the vegetable broth and the tomatoes.
  • Cook for about 2 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat and add oregano, thyme and salt.
  • Pour the farro mixture into a baking dish and cover tightly with foil and bake for about 40 minutes.
  • Take it out of the oven and remove the foil.
  • Drizzle those 2 tablespoons of olive oil on top and bake for 10 minutes.
  • Allow the casserole to sit for 10 minutes to cool slightly and firm up a bit.

Precautions

  • Individuals who are allergic to gluten should not consume farro.
  • Individuals with celiac disease should avoid farro [14] .
  • It may cause bloating in some individuals.

FAQs On Farro

Q. How to cook farro?

A. Boil 2 cups water, 1 cup farro, and salt in a medium saucepan. Cover the pot, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until grains are tender but not mushy, about 20 minutes. Drain any excess water, and then use as a side dish or add to other recipes [15] .

Q. What is the best substitute for farro?

A. Quinoa. It has slightly fewer calories and is a little lower in calcium.

Q. Is Farro better for you than rice?

A. Per ½-cup serving, farro delivers more protein (about 3.5 g) and fibre (about 3.5 g) than brown rice. So, yes it is better and healthier.

Q. Which is healthier quinoa or farro?

A. Nutritionally speaking, both grains are pretty much the same. While they're both high in fibre and protein, farro has slightly more carbs but also offers more calcium than quinoa [16] .

Q. Is Farro anti-inflammatory?

A. Yes.

View Article References
  1. [1] Shewry, P. R. (2018). Do ancient types of wheat have health benefits compared with modern bread wheat?. Journal of cereal science, 79, 469-476.
  2. [2] Weisenberger, J. (2018). Eat for Health. Alternative Medicine, (41), 20-23.
  3. [3] Dhanavath, S., & Prasada Rao, U. J. S. (2017). Nutritional and Nutraceutical Properties of Triticum dicoccum Wheat and Its Health Benefits: An Overview. Journal of food science, 82(10), 2243-2250.
  4. [4] Ohr, L. M. (2016). Wholly grains. Food Technology, 2, 63-66.
  5. [5] Shewry, P. R. (2018). Do ancient types of wheat have health benefits compared with modern bread wheat?. Journal of cereal science, 79, 469-476.
  6. [6] Ju, Y. H. (2016). Is a Gluten-Free Diet Healthy for People Without Celiac Disease?.
  7. [7] Zhang, L., Pagoto, S., Olendzki, B., Persuitte, G., Churchill, L., Oleski, J., & Ma, Y. (2018). A nonrestrictive, weight loss diet focused on fiber and lean protein increase. Nutrition, 54, 12-18.
  8. [8] Carr, A. C., & Maggini, S. (2017). Vitamin C and immune function. Nutrients, 9(11), 1211.
  9. [9] Naas, A. E., & Pope, P. B. (2019). A mechanistic overview of ruminal fibre digestion (No. e27831v1). PeerJ Preprints.
  10. [10] Khandhar, A. P., Keselman, P., Kemp, S. J., Ferguson, R. M., Goodwill, P. W., Conolly, S. M., & Krishnan, K. M. (2017). Evaluation of PEG-coated iron oxide nanoparticles as blood pool tracers for preclinical magnetic particle imaging. Nanoscale, 9(3), 1299-1306.
  11. [11] Kokavec, A. (2016). Migraine: A disorder of metabolism?. Medical hypotheses, 97, 117-130.
  12. [12] Gross, E. C., Klement, R. J., Schoenen, J., D’Agostino, D. P., & Fischer, D. (2019). Potential protective mechanisms of ketone bodies in migraine prevention. Nutrients, 11(4), 811.
  13. [13] VegKitchen. (NA). 12 Tasty, Healthy Vegan Farro Recipes. Retrieved from https://www.vegkitchen.com/12-tasty-healthy-vegan-farro-recipes/
  14. [14] Mozaffarian, D. (2016). What’s “Healthy”? Experts, Public Diverge.
  15. [15] Ju, Y. H. (2016). Is a Gluten-Free Diet Healthy for People Without Celiac Disease?.
  16. [16] Wang, S., & Zhu, F. (2016). Formulation and quality attributes of quinoa food products. Food and bioprocess technology, 9(1), 49-68.

Story first published: Monday, October 21, 2019, 18:17 [IST]
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