The story of wheat and bread
Wheat is one of the most commonly used grains in the world.
This plant is made from an herb called (Triticum) which is planted in various industrial and traditional ways around the world. This product has a high nutritional value and is a rich source of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. This product has been produced in various ways from the past to the present. The process of making bread has also changed throughout history. In this article, we will explain how to produce wheat and baking bread industrially and traditionally, and express the advantages and disadvantages of each.
History of Wheat
Wheat cultivation dates back to thousands of years ago. Historians guess that its cultivation first took place in Syria and Palestine and then spread to neighboring lands such as Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Iran. This product is one of the first plants that humans have cultivated as it is easier to cultivate and care for than other plants. Also, this plant is compatible with different climates and can be produced in different conditions using various methods. That’s why this plant was cultivated more and more among people of the world.
The social status of wheat among Iranians
About three-quarters of the world’s population has wheat in their food basket. This product is usually cheap and nutritious, and all levels of society eat it. This grain is a symbol of blessing and prosperity in many countries of the world, including Iran, which indicates its special place among the people. Iranians consume about 5.2% of the world’s wheat. This is while the population of Iran is almost one percent of the total population of the world. 36% of the total daily calories received by Iranian people are from wheat, and for this reason, the food security of the Iranian people depends on this product with high nutritional value.
The number of calories received from wheat
Ingredients in 100 grams of whole wheat flour:
- Calories: 340
- Protein: 13 grams
- Carbohydrates: 72 grams
- Sugar: 0.4 g
- Fat: 2.5 grams
- Standard fat: 0.4 g
- Sodium: 2 mg
- Calcium: 34 mg
- Iron 3.60 mg
- Potassium 363 mg
- Fiber: 10.7 grams
Carbohydrate in wheat
Like all grains, wheat is high in carbohydrates. Carbohydrate starch contains more than 90% of the total carbohydrates in it.
The effect of carbohydrate starch on health mainly depends on its digestibility. It is digestibility that determines the effect of starch on blood sugar levels. High digestibility raises blood sugar and has detrimental effects on the health of diabetics.
Similar to white rice and potatoes, white flour has a high Glycemic Index (GI) and is unsuitable for diabetics. On the other hand, some wheat products, such as pasta, are not highly digestible, therefore, do not raise blood sugar levels too much.
Fiber in wheat
12 to 15% of dry wheat is fiber. Most of these fibers are insoluble and almost all of them pass through the digestive system and are excreted. Some gut bacteria also feed on wheat fiber. In addition, wheat contains small amounts of soluble fiber or fructans, which may be harmful to people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). However, the fiber in bran has beneficial effects on intestinal health.
Protein in wheat
Proteins make up 7 to 22% of dry wheat. 80% of its total protein is composed of gluten. Gluten causes the elasticity of wheat paste, which is the basis of bread production. Consumption of gluten can have adverse effects on the health of people with celiac disease.
Vitamins and minerals
- Selenium is a rare element that has many helpful effects on the body. The amount of selenium depends on the soil of a region. For example, the selenium in the soil of China is very low.
- Due to the presence of phytic acid, just a little manganese is absorbed through the wheat, but this small amount is essential for the health of the body.
- Phosphorus is a beneficial mineral for the body, that plays a key role in maintaining and growing body tissues.
- Copper is a rare element that most people are deficient in copper in their diet. Its deficiency has bad effects on heart health.
- Folic acid, also known as vitamin B9 plays a key role for pregnant women.
Traditional cultivation of wheat in Iran
In traditional cultivation, after plowing and irrigating the ground, some holes are made in the ground. The seeds are placed in these holes and covered with soil. This type of cultivation is time-consuming due to being manual and the amount of wheat cultivated with this method is not high. Traditional cultivation is usually done once or twice a year, so the soil has enough time to strengthen itself. In this type of cultivation, farmers usually use natural animal or plant fertilizers to strengthen the soil, which does not harm the plant’s nutritional value, and the plant grows naturally.
Baking traditional bread in Iran
In the past, wheat was ground into flour by hand or using stone mills, which did not separate whole-wheat bran. Traditionally, only a mixture of flour and water was used to make bread, so the dough took hours to be prepared. At this time, the volume of the dough multiplies. Later, yeasts called sourdoughs that were made naturally were used.
In the past, due to a lack of knowledge about nutrients, people thought that the whiter the bread, the more valuable it was. These loaves were usually more expensive and were bought by the rich. While later humans realized that the darker the bread the higher the nutritional value due to the presence of bran.
Industrial cultivation of wheat in Iran
For industrial cultivation of wheat, land needs to be prepared. First, the land is plowed with machines and tractors. After plowing, the soil is strengthened with fertilizers such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, and magnesium. Before adding any other type of soil-strengthening fertilizers, the necessary tests should be performed. Farmers must disinfect the seeds before sowing so that the plant does not suffer from pests and diseases such as measles. Seeds are also sprayed to kill fungi and other potential hazards.
After that, it is time to demarcate the soil and sowing. At this stage, using special machines, the seeds can be evenly distributed throughout the land. Advanced irrigation systems also help keep all parts of the farm evenly moist. Finally, it is time to harvest wheat.
Disadvantages of industrial cultivation of wheat
Industrial cultivation leads to the desired result and mass production faster and easier with the help of advanced and heavy machinery. On the other hand, the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides causes some toxins to enter the plant and reduce the nutritional value of wheat such as bran and fiber. Humans are exposed to diseases such as genetic diseases, osteoporosis, Parkinson’s and increased abortion, low birth weight babies, and hormonal disorders through excessive and repeated use of chemical fertilizers.
In the transgenic seed method, new genes that are not normally present in the seed are added to the plant. The purpose of doing this is to improve the grain of wheat. The improvement such as increasing its resistance to pests, increasing crop tolerance to dehydration, increasing wheat production, etc.
Natural wheat grain has properties that can better help it withstand unfavorable environmental conditions and pest infestation on the plant. These traits are due to the natural genes of wheat.
Although the science of genetics to improve plants and increase non-intrinsic capabilities has been able to provide conditions for more wheat cultivation and affect the speed of food production to the people of the world, but it also has its critics. Researchers believe that turning natural food sources into transgenic have long-term detrimental effects on human health.
For example, transgenic culture causes toxins such as melanocytes to enter the human food cycle; these toxins can lead to diseases over time. In addition, due to the increased resistance of wheat to pests, large amounts of toxins are stabilized in the soil and even kill vital bacteria in fertile soil. Thus, in addition to reducing the nutritional value of this grain, its natural growth conditions are also damaged in the transgenic method.
Baking bread in Iran's food industry
The most important feature of baking bread in an industrial way is that it does not involve the hands. In preparing industrial bread, first, the appropriate flour is selected. Flours are usually stored in silos under special conditions. White flour is more durable than dark wholemeal flour due to its low fat and enzyme. Yeast or baking soda is used in the preparation of bread dough to spend less time and increase efficiency. At this stage, the bread dough is ready using carbonic acid or using deodorizing chemicals. After resting the dough, it is ready. Most industrial bread is usually baked at indirect heat for a short time and then packaged.
Disadvantages of baking industrial bread
The type of flour, the amount and type of fermentation, as well as the baking time of the bread affect the amount of iron, calcium, and zinc in it. Therefore, if complete fermentation is not done in the preparation of bread by industrial method, the nutritional value and quality of bread will decrease. In industrially preparing bread, if the right temperature and sufficient time for baking are not used, it can increase the amount of soluble starch and the rate of staleness of bread.
On the other hand, some of the most nutritious parts of wheat grains, namely bran, and sprouts, are not present in white flour as they are destroyed during the milling and refining process in an industrial way. Fiber is also one of the important nutrients that are concentrated in wheat bran. Fiber is lost during the production and preparation of flour and is absent in refined flour.
Industrially prepared white flour contains chemicals and is low in antioxidants, vitamins, nutrients, and fiber, which can cause some gastrointestinal, inflammatory diseases, weight gain, allergies, arthritis, and joint pain.
What is the solution?
Phosphorus helps activate many B group enzymes and vitamins by binding phosphate groups and can improve kidney function, muscle contractions, normal heart rate, and nerve signaling.
Some forms of vitamin B provide energy, while others improve mental ability and emotional stability. Therefore, this mineral is necessary for your body to be able to receive B vitamins and to use different types of it properly in the body.
Also, to prevent this substance overdose and maintain its balance use vitamins such as vitamin D as well as other minerals such as iodine, magnesium, and zinc.
Due to the increase in the human population, it is necessary to use industrial cultivation to meet the needs of all members of society. The human body needs vitamins and minerals to get some of the nutritional values and to get rid of toxins that entered the plant during cultivation. One way to meet this need is to take supplements along with bread. One of these natural supplements is NBS Superfood. This supplement is made from whole grains and provides nutrients such as fiber that are lost in wheat production.
It is not just a matter of consuming organic bread or delivering nutrients through supplements or related medications. In addition to the need for healthy nutrition, our body must be able to regulate the amount of these micronutrients.
In addition to providing the body with micronutrients, NBS Superfood also removes toxins and regulates and balances the amounts of these micronutrients. Therefore, this natural supplement can regulate and strengthen various body systems.
Wheat has long been one of the most important foods for humans and is an essential ingredient for making bread. This product contains many nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, all of which are necessary for human health. Wheat and bread are prepared in different ways from the past to the present, each of which has advantages and disadvantages. With the advancement of technology and due to the increase in population, its industrial methods of production and preparation have replaced traditional ones. Due to population growth and the daily need of humans for bread, there is no other way but to use industrial methods and transgenic wheat. The nutritional value of it is reduced by industrial methods or by its transgenic ways toxins may be added to the body. Therefore, supplementation can be a good option to reduce potential harm and get more nutrients.