Health Benefits Of Farro

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What is farro?

Farro is an ancient grain that has been around for thousands of years. It originated near the eastern Mediterranean Sea and is now grown in various places such as Ethiopia, India and Spain.

Farro is a type of wheat with a nutty flavour and chewy texture and it refers to the grains of three different types of wheat; einkorn, emmer and spelt. It is an excellent substitute for rice or quinoa and it can be used in salads, soups, risotto and even desserts.

Emmer is commonly used in the United States and Europe as emmer wheat. It is available in a dry form and is cooked in water until it is soft and chewy.

Although whole grain farro provides similar health benefits to other types of wheat, the amount of nutrients is higher in farro.

Health benefits of farro

Promotes weight loss

According to the American Heart Association, farro contains fibre and protein and creates a feeling of fullness, thereby preventing overeating.

Although it lacks sufficient data that proves that farro helps lose weight, various factors suggest that it helps to prevent obesity and can be a substitute for rice or pasta and benefit those who are seeking ways to lose weight. The complex carbs in farro are slowly digested, providing long-lasting energy throughout the day and 170 kcal of energy.

Regulates the digestive system 

Farro helps to regulate the digestive system as it is an excellent source of fibre. People with constipation, irritable bowel syndrome or poor digestive health can benefit from adding farro as part of their diet.

Vitamins and minerals

 Farro is rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It contains: 

  • Vitamin B3 (niacin) which helps to regulate cholesterol
  • Zinc which helps the immune system to fight against various diseases
  • Iron which helps in the production of haemoglobin (a type of cell present in the blood that carries oxygen around the body)
  • Magnesium which regulates muscle and nerve function
  • Antioxidants which are important in delaying and preventing some types of cell damage

Source of protein 

A 100g of emmer wheat contains 12.77g of protein and when combined with fruits and vegetables, it is a great option for those looking for a plant-based diet and to gain some muscle.

Low glycemic index

Farro has a low glycemic index meaning it is broken down slowly and keeps the blood sugar level stable. Its high fibre content and complex carbohydrates make it an ideal choice for diabetics and pre-diabetics as it helps regulate blood sugar levels and prevent spikes in glucose. Eating farro regularly can help diabetic people manage their condition by providing a stable source of energy over time.

Prevent cardiovascular disease 

Farro contains a high amount of fibre that is good for digestive health. Studies have shown that dietary fibre reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases and stroke by controlling high blood pressure.1 

Nutritional facts

47 grams of organic whole grain emmer wheat contains:

  • Protein- 6 grams with a dietary value (DV) of 12%
  • Total lipid fat 1 gram (DV of 2%)
  • Fibre- 4.98 gram (DV of 20%)
  • Iron, Fe- 0.719 mg (DV of 4%)
  • Cholesterol- 0 mg
  • Magnesium, Mg- 60.2 mg (DV of 15%)
  • Fatty acid, total trans- 0 mg

Side effects and other concerns

Although farro is a healthy and nutritious grain, it also has side effects. 

Digestive problems

The most common side effects of farro are digestive problems such as constipation, flatulence and bloating. This might be due to the intake of high amounts of dietary fibre since fibre-rich foods can worsen constipation in a few people.

Gluten sensitive

Farro is gluten sensitive and is not suitable for people with coeliac disease. 

Decreases the bioavailability of essential minerals 

The bioavailability refers to the ability of the mineral to be absorbed and used by the body. Farro is known to decrease the bioavailability of essential minerals such as iron and zinc, making them less effective. Therefore, it is better to control the intake of whole grain farro in people having deficiencies of any minerals.

It is important to consult your doctor before adding farro to your diet to make sure that it won’t cause any adverse reactions.

Summary

Farro refers to three grains; emmer, spelt and einkorn and is packed with vitamins and minerals. It is also high in fibre and protein, making it a great choice for those looking for a plant-based way to improve their overall health. 

It has gained popularity because of its low glycemic index, anti-oxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties and its versatility in sweet and savoury recipes. But people with digestive health issues (such as constipation) and people with coeliac disease should be careful as it could make their symptoms worse.

References

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This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Bhashwati Deb Barma

Bachelor of Physiotherapy,M.S., Ramaiah Medical College, India

Bhashwati is a Physiotherapist with a firm grasp of Paediatric physiotherapy and is currently working with special children in the community.

She has 6 years of experience working in hospitals and non-profit organizations set up. As a writer by passion, she is putting up her practical and academic knowledge into her articles.

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