So, what is freekeh? It is a type of cereal obtained from young durum wheat that is harvested while the grains are still green and tender.
The wheat is then roasted and crushed, which gives it its unique flavor. Freekeh has a nutty, smoky taste that pairs well with other flavors.
It is a good source of protein and fiber, and it is low in calories. Freekeh can be used in place of rice or other grains in recipes, or it can be eaten on its own as a side dish.
Originally, this grain is native to North Africa, and it’s a common ingredient in Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan cuisines.
Freekeh Nutrition Facts
- Calories: 353
- Carbohydrates: 60.8 grams
- Protein: 14.9 grams
- Fat: 2 grams
- Fiber: 12.9 grams
- Zinc: 31 milligrams, or 207 percent of the daily requirement
- Iron: 32 milligrams, or 178 percent of the daily requirement
- Copper: 3.4 milligrams, or 170 percent of the daily requirement
- Potassium: 3,970 milligrams, or 113 percent of the daily requirement
- Calcium: 370 milligrams, or 37 percent of the daily requirement
- Magnesium: 110 milligrams, or 28 percent of the daily requirement
Health Benefits of Freekeh
Keep reading to learn more about freekeh nutrition, its health benefits, and other amazing ways to include it in your diet.
1. Promotes healthy eyes
There are many benefits of eating freekeh, including the promotion of eye health.
Freekeh is rich in carotenoids, which are essential nutrients for eye health.
Carotenoids are antioxidants that help protect the eyes from damage caused by free radicals.
They also help improve night vision and reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration.
Additionally, freekeh is a good source of lutein and zeaxanthin, two other important nutrients for eye health.
Lutein and zeaxanthin help filter out harmful blue light and protect the retina from damage.
2. Supports weight loss
When it comes to weight loss, Freekeh can be a helpful addition to your diet.
This superfood is high in fiber and protein, both of which are essential for weight loss.
Fiber helps to keep you feeling full after eating, so you’re less likely to snack or overeat. Protein, on the other hand, helps build and maintain muscle mass.
Muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue, so by increasing your muscle mass, you’ll rev up your metabolism and burn more calories throughout the day.
Plus, freekeh is low in calories and fat, making it a great choice for those watching their weight.
3. Builds strong bones
It is no secret that our bones need nutrients to stay strong and healthy.
Freekeh is an excellent source of many minerals and vitamins that are essential for bone health, including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamin K.
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body, and it’s essential for bone health.
Most of the calcium in our bodies is stored in our bones and teeth.
When we don’t get enough calcium from our diet, our bodies will take calcium from our bones to make sure that our blood has enough calcium. This can lead to weak and fragile bones.
Magnesium is essential for the proper development and maintenance of bones.
It helps keep bones strong and healthy by stimulating new bone growth and aiding in calcium absorption.
Magnesium also helps prevent osteoporosis by reducing calcium loss from bones.
Phosphorus works with calcium and also helps the body use vitamin D, which is important for bone health.
Vitamin K plays a role in the production of osteocalcin, a protein essential for bone formation and mineralization.
Vitamin K also helps prevent calcium from being deposited in the arteries, which can lead to cardiovascular disease.
Additionally, freekeh is also a good source of protein, which is necessary for bone growth and repair.
4. Supports healthy digestion
Freekeh is a type of whole grain that is packed with fiber.
Fiber is an important nutrient for promoting healthy digestion. It helps keep things moving along the digestive tract and prevents constipation.
Freekeh is also a good source of prebiotics. Prebiotics are a type of fiber that helps feed the good bacteria in your gut.
This helps keep your gut microbiome healthy and can promote better overall digestion.
In addition to its high fiber content, freekeh is also a good source of other nutrients that are important for digestive health.
These include vitamins A, C, and E, as well as potassium, magnesium, and iron.
All these nutrients play important roles in maintaining a healthy digestive system.
For example, vitamin A is essential for the mucous membranes that line the digestive tract, while vitamin C helps to heal any damaged tissue.
Potassium and magnesium help regulate muscle contractions in the intestines, while the iron is essential for keeping the entire gastrointestinal system functioning properly.
5. Could boost cardiovascular health
There are many ways in which freekeh boosts cardiovascular health. One way is by improving blood cholesterol levels.
Freekeh contains a type of soluble fiber called pectin, which has been shown to help lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and raise HDL (“good”) cholesterol.
Freekeh has also been shown to fight inflammation, which is the root cause of most chronic conditions, including heart disease.
In addition, freekeh contains lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that protect the heart from damage.
Finally, freekeh also helps regulate blood sugar levels. This is important because spikes in blood sugar can damage blood vessels and lead to cardiovascular problems.
6. Its high potassium levels lowers blood pressure
Potassium is a key mineral that helps regulate blood pressure. It works by countering the effects of sodium in the body.
When sodium levels are high, it can cause fluid retention and lead to higher blood pressure.
Potassium helps to offset this by promoting urinary excretion of sodium and helping to maintain healthy blood pressure levels.
Studies have shown that potassium can significantly lower blood pressure in people with hypertension.
One study showed that consuming 4,700 mg of potassium per day was associated with a systolic blood pressure reduction of 5.1 mmHg and a diastolic reduction of 2.8 mmHg.
Another way that potassium lowers blood pressure is by relaxing blood vessels and promoting healthy circulation.
In addition, potassium helps to keep arteries from hardening and narrowing, which can increase blood pressure.
Potassium has many other health benefits as well. It is important for proper nerve and muscle function, heart health, and bone health.
7. It can help you build strong muscles
Freekeh is high in protein. Protein is the nutrient that’s most responsible for muscle growth.
When you eat foods high in protein, your body breaks down the protein into amino acids, which are then used to build new muscle tissue.
Strong and healthy muscles are essential for various reasons. For one, strong muscles help support your skeletal system, which can help prevent injuries.
Additionally, strong muscles can help improve your balance, coordination, and posture.
Furthermore, having strong muscles can help you burn more calories, even at rest!
Finally, strong muscles can help to promote a healthy heart and lungs by helping to keep them efficient and working properly.
How to Use Freekeh?
Now that you want to try this grain, how do you even use it?
1. Make freekeh porridge
To make freekeh porridge, you will need:
- 1 cup of freekeh
- 2 cups of water
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil or butter
- 1/4 cup of maple syrup or honey (optional)
- Rinse the freekeh in a fine mesh strainer under cold water until the water runs clear.
- In a medium saucepan, bring the freekeh and water to a boil over medium heat.
- Add the salt and oil or butter, and stir to combine.
- Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the freekeh is tender and cooked through.
- Stir in the maple syrup or honey, if using, and serve warm. Enjoy!
2. Add it to salads
Adding freekeh to salads is a great way to add some extra protein and fiber to your meal.
Also, its nutty flavor pairs well with many different salad ingredients.
To add freekeh to your salad, simply cook the freekeh according to the package directions and then add it to your salad just as you would any other grain.
You can also try using freekeh in place of rice or quinoa in your favorite salads.
3. Add freekeh to soups and stews
If you’re looking for a way to add some extra nutrition and flavor to your soups and stews, freekeh is a great option.
Besides its high fiber and protein content, it’s a good source of vitamins and minerals.
To add freekeh to soups and stews, simply simmer it in water or broth until tender.
You can also cook it in the same pot as your soup or stew, which will give it more flavor.
Just be sure to add enough liquid to cover the freekeh. Once cooked, you can season it to taste with salt, pepper, and other herbs or spices.
4. As a healthy rice replacement
If you’re looking for a rice replacement in your recipes, look no further than freekeh.
Freekeh is a nutritious grain that can be used in place of rice in any recipe.
5. Make freekeh pilaf
Rinse the freekeh in a fine mesh strainer and rinse under cold water until the water runs clear.
- In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil and stir in 1 cup of freekeh.
- Bring to a low simmer and cook for 25-30 minutes, or until the freekeh is tender.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add in 1 chopped onion and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in 2 cloves of minced garlic and cook for an additional minute.
- Add the cooked freekeh to the skillet and toss to combine with the onions and garlic.
- Stir in 1 cup of vegetable broth, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and black pepper to taste (optional).
- Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed by the freekeh pilafs.
- Serve immediately, garnished with green onions or parsley if desired
6. As a stuffing ingredient
The nutty, smoky flavor of freekeh pairs well with other stuffing ingredients like onions, celery, and herbs.
It’s also high in fiber and protein, making it a nutritious option for your holiday meal.
To use freekeh as a stuffing ingredient, simply cook it according to the package directions.
Once it’s cooked, add it to your stuffing mix along with the other ingredients.
Bake the stuffing according to your recipe instructions, and enjoy!
7. In baking
When it comes to baking with freekeh, the sky is the limit! This ancient grain can be used in a variety of baked goods, from bread and muffins to cakes and cookies.
Here are a few tips on how to use freekeh in baking:
For a delicious and healthy alternative to white flour, substitute up to half of your regular baking flour in your recipe with finely ground freekeh.
To add a nutty flavor and crunchy texture to baked goods, stir in some coarsely ground freekeh before baking.
Is Freekeh Gluten Free?
When it comes to side effects, one of the potential issues with freekeh is that it contains gluten.
For those who are gluten-sensitive or have celiac disease, this can obviously be a problem.
Even for those who don’t have any issues with gluten, too much of it can still lead to some uncomfortable side effects like bloating and gas.
Freekeh is also high in fiber, and too much fiber consumption can cause digestive issues, including bloating, gas, and constipation.
While these side effects are generally not serious, they can be very uncomfortable.
If you experience any of these side effects after eating foods high in fiber, try reducing the amount of fiber you eat and see if the symptoms improve.
Final Thoughts on Freekeh
Freekeh is an ancient grain that has become popular in recent years for its nutritional value and health benefits.
It is high in fiber and protein and low in calories, making it an ideal food for those looking to lose weight or maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Freekeh also contains a number of vitamins and minerals that are essential for good health.
Freekeh can be used in a variety of recipes, from soups and stews to salads and side dishes.
If you are looking for a nutritious and delicious way to add more whole grains to your diet, freekeh is a great option to consider.