Einkorn flour is a special kind of flour that is derived from an ancient variety of wheat known as Einkorn wheat. It was originally found in the upper area of the fertile crescent of the Near East and scattered across the Transcaucasia, the Mediterranean region, southwestern Europe, and the Balkans.
The name Einkorn means “one grain” in German, and for good reason too, as the plant has a single grain attached to its stem, unlike other modern varieties of wheat that have theirs in groups of four grains. It is also one of the earliest cereal grains to be domesticated and cultivated as food with a history dating back over 10,000 years–as far back as the early Bronze Age.
That’s not all, wild Einkorn is the only wheat variety with two sets of chromosomes (diploid wheat) and every other wheat variety we see today practically descended from it. Another amazing fact is that wild Einkorn is the only wheat species that has never been hybridized or crossed with other species. See what makes it so special?
Well, there are so many positive things that can be attributed to Einkorn flour in regards to its history and origin, but that’s nothing compared to the amazing health benefits this wonderful plant has to offer. It would interest you to know that Einkorn flour is a good source of protein, iron, thiamine, dietary fiber, and some other B vitamins. It also contains large amounts of the powerful antioxidant lutein.
Major Health Benefits of Einkorn Flour
It lowers the risk of eye disease
Einkorn contains dietary carotenoids, which work as antioxidants to provide relief to certain diseases including eye diseases such as macular degeneration. This was discovered after an experiment where Einkorn was observed to be increasing in carotenoid levels when sprouting, especially when exposed to light. It’s also been revealed that there are concentrations of lutein, zeaxanthin, and β-carotene in Einkorn, which are lipophilic antioxidants that have also proven effective against eye diseases. The main function of these antioxidants is to act as a shield that absorbs the damaging effect of the light that enters the eye.
It offers reduced allergy symptoms
Einkorn is also known to be among the less allergic wheat varieties. This was first revealed in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology after research was performed on 324 different wheat varieties sourced from different parts of the world. The research focused primarily on major wheat allergens or components of gluten such as glutenin and gliadin. This was to ensure the best screening process because these allergens were known to trigger allergic reactions in patients that were tested.
The allergens glutenin and gliadin were used as the benchmark for determining less allergenic varieties of wheat, a process which unveiled Einkorn and several other wheat varieties as less allergenic. This discovery inspired the use of Einkorn and other less allergenic wheat options as mother plants for breeding to aid wheat-allergic patients with getting rid of and treating their food allergies.
It aids weight loss
Einkorn flour contains several rich nutritional elements that are good for your body. Einkorn whole meal is rich in proteins and unsaturated fatty acids, fructans and trace elements, including zinc and iron. It also contains several antioxidant compounds, which combined with its trace elements, can help you lose weight.
The importance of consuming functional foods cannot be overemphasized, and Einkorn flour plays a vital role in human consumption and the development of new or specialty foods that offer the best nutritional quality. To get the full benefits of Einkorn flour, make sure that it is consumed in its purest form and not combined with chemicals or miscellaneous ingredients.
A 100-gram serving of Einkorn flour in its purest form typically contains about:
- 1,450 calories
- 18.2 grams protein
- 2.5 grams fat
- 8.7 grams fiber
- 415 milligrams phosphorus (42 percent DV)
- 0.5-milligram thiamine (33 percent DV)
- 0.5-milligram riboflavin (29 percent DV)
- 4.6 milligrams iron (26 percent DV)
- 0.5-milligram vitamin B6 (25 percent DV)
- 3.1 milligrams niacin (16 percent DV)
- 2.2 milligrams zinc (15 percent DV)
- 390 milligrams potassium (11 percent DV)
- 312 IU vitamin A (6 percent DV)
It delays development and progression of Type 2 diabetes
Another health benefit of Einkorn flour is that it curtails cell production that is related to glucose and fat metabolism, a process that is synonymous with the prevention or delay of diabetes development. This discovery was made after a study on ancient grains was conducted at the Department of Endocrinology and Internal Medicine at Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark.
The study investigated the effects of ancient wheat whole grain flour diets on the development and progression of type 2 diabetes, with focus on the glycemic responses. Also, an intervention study which involved the consumption of five different diets – emmer, rye flour, spelt, refined wheat and Einkorn was conducted over a period of nine weeks.
The results 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 and fat metabolism, which is equivalent to the prevention or delay of diabetes development. Based on these findings, it’s a good idea to include ancient grains and flours, Einkorn flour specifically, in your diabetes diet plan.
It helps prevent the risk of diseases
Einkorn flour also contains copious amounts phenolic acids. This acid is known to be responsible for protecting the body from oxidative damage and diseases through the ingestion of some plants, fruits, and vegetables. Larger quantities of carotenoids have also been found in Einkorn flour than any other modern wheat flour. All of these elements have proven effective at fighting serious diseases like coronary heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
It’s low in gluten
Unlike other wheat flour varieties, Einkorn flour is low in gluten and lighter in mass. This makes it easier to digest and allows better absorption of nutrients, especially recommended for those with sensitive stomachs and endurance athletes.
Although it’s best to consume all wheat in moderation, choosing to include ancient Einkorn wheat flour over modern wheat flour is smart, since it surpasses all other wheat varieties in quality, nutrition, and health benefits. I use it in some of my family’s favorite recipes – Homemade Einkorn Sourdough Bread and Cinnamon Roll Einkorn Sourdough Pancakes. I get my Einkorn flour HERE. We buy the einkorn berries and mill them into flour in our kitchen to save money. Here is the mill that I use if you want to give it a try yourself. I also wrote a post about the health benefits of milling it yourself HERE.