Wheat binds well and is inexpensive – and is therefore often used in the food industry. But many people cannot tolerate wheat. Obesity, gastrointestinal problems, or skin rashes – the list of consequences that processed wheat can have is long. But there are alternatives. Basically, cereals contain a lot of carbohydrates and vegetable proteins. It provides energy and fills you up. Almost all grains and flakes contain plenty of iron, zinc, and important B vitamins. Secondary plant substances such as polyphenols can inhibit inflammation, strengthen the immune system and protect cells from so-called free radicals. There are tannins directly under the skin, which are said to have a positive effect on the intestines.
Spelled: More protein and vitamins than wheat
Due to its high proportion of gluten, spelled has very good baking properties. It is also popular because of its slightly nutty taste and its significantly higher proportion of vitamins, protein, minerals, and unsaturated fatty acids than wheat. Its gluten protein is of higher quality and has a different composition. However, spelling is not an alternative for those who suffer from celiac disease, i.e. gluten intolerance.
Emmer: The ancient grain is an all-grain
Together with einkorn, emmer is one of the so-called ancient grains that people were already cultivating in the Neolithic Age. From the Middle Ages, first spelled and later wheat replaced the undemanding grain. Today, emmer is again primarily cultivated by organic farmers because it has two advantages that make it interesting for organic cultivation: The grains are enclosed in a solid shell that protects the grain from pests and fungi. The dark color of the emmer also acts as a natural UV protection. Emmer grains are significantly harder than wheat and contain many secondary plant substances as well as important minerals such as iron, magnesium, and zinc. Emmer tastes particularly good when it is roasted. Then it becomes particularly spicy and nutty. The flour is well suited for baking bread, waffles, or pancakes. But pasta can also be made from emmer. A special feature is the Perl-Emmer, in which the shell of the grain is roughened. It is used as a side dish similar to rice or can be made into patties.
Buckwheat: Suitable for those with gluten intolerance
Buckwheat is one of the so-called pseudocereals. These are grain plants that botanically belong to a different plant species, but are used in a similar way to cereals. Because buckwheat does not contain any gluten, it is a good alternative, especially for people with gluten intolerance. In addition, compared to wheat, buckwheat contains three times more lysine – important for our bones. And the iron content is also higher in buckwheat. Buckwheat flour is good for baking flatbread and pancakes. Cakes and bread made from buckwheat flour also taste good. However, due to the lack of gluten, it has to be mixed with other types of flour. The following applies to the buckwheat kernels: neither wash nor soak.
Coconut or almond flour as other alternatives
Other wheat substitute flours can be coconut or almond flour. Because both have no gluten, few carbohydrates, but lots of fiber. Unfortunately, these also absorb a lot of moisture. They cannot be used as a one-to-one substitute for wheat. They are also very expensive compared to other flours.
In addition to vitamins, almond flour also contains minerals such as calcium and magnesium and trace elements such as iron or zinc. Coconut flour tastes sweet, aromatic, and slightly nutty. Compared to whole wheat flour, coconut flour contains three times the fiber, much more fat and protein, and far fewer carbohydrates – but similar calories overall. People with celiac disease can safely eat coconut flour because it does not contain gluten.