5 Amazing Health Benefits of Farro
Kitchens everywhere are having a love affair with farro. This ancient grain is starting to compete for space in the hippest recipe books with the reigning health food wunderkind, quinoa. But does farro, and all the other ancient grains, live up to the hype? In a word: Yes.
The term “ancient” means the grain has remained largely unchanged over eternity, whereas modern grains have been refined or re-engineered. The Whole Grains Council explains, “Ancient grains are certainly more nutritious than refined grain products…[and] Many ancient grains thrive with lower levels of pesticides, fertilizers, and irrigation…” In other words, ancient grains are typically a purer, healthier, more environmental choice for consumers.
Farro, also called emmer, is considered to be one of the more “exotic” ancient grains along with sorghum and quinoa and has some amazing health benefits to go along with its trendy reputation. In addition to being delicious, here are five nutritious reasons you should include farro in your diet:
1. Farro is Rich in Fiber
Getting the right amount of fiber in your diet is important for digestion as it keeps your colon healthy. A high-fiber diet has also been proven to lower your cholesterol levels, as well as decrease the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. The recommended daily dose of fiber is 38 grams for men and 25 grams for women, as reported by Fiber Facts. One cup of farro contains 12 grams of fiber, so depending on your gender, you’ll be either a third or halfway to getting your daily allotment of fiber with a single cup of this super grain. That’s the fiber equivalent of eating four medium-sized bananas.
2. Farro Provides 28 grams of Protein
Protein is a macronutrient that’s considered to be the primary building block of the human body because it helps build muscle, tissue, and cells. While protein shouldn’t compose the majority of your daily nutrition intake, it’s true that it’s essential to good health. Eating foods packed with protein like farro will help you stay healthy, gain strength, and lose weight. One cup of farro provides 28 grams of protein, which is equivalent to a 3-ounce portion of sirloin steak.
3. Full of Antioxidants
It’s not just fruit and vegetables that are full of antioxidants. Farro, like other whole grains, can be an important source of the antioxidants that protect you from harmful molecules called free radicals. Free radicals can cause cell damage that is thought to result in certain cancers, heart disease, diabetes, stroke. If you’ve been trying to eat a few bars of dark chocolate a day or blending up some Goji berry smoothies, you now have another option for an antioxidant fix. Adding farro to your diet will keep your cells healthy and strengthen your “good” molecules.
4. Low Calorie & Low Fat
Some varieties of farro are fat free – yes, you can get all those antioxidants, fibers, and proteins, without any fat grams. And if you’re counting calories, farro will be a go-to ingredient for you. Even compared to other grains, farro is the low-fat, low-calorie winner. One-half cup of cooked farro contains 0 grams of fat and 100 calories, whereas the same amount of cooked brown rice is 1 gram of fat and 108 calories, and cooked quinoa is 2 grams of fat and 120 calories. All three grains are healthy choices when compared to the refined grains, but sometimes every calorie counts and farro comes out on top.
Recent nutrition studies have shown that the most effective way to lose weight and slim down is to limit your calories and only eat “healthy” fats (like omega 3s). Adding farro to your grocery shopping list will allow you to be both low calorie and low fat.
5. Farro is Loaded With Nutrients & Vitamins
Another reason farro is a grain worthy of your cupboards is because of the nutrients and vitamins it contains. Magnesium, zinc, and vitamin B3 are all present in farro and each is important to your health. Magnesium helps facilitate over 600 reactions in your body that regulate your nervous system, create energy, form proteins, and much more. Zinc strengthens your immune system, breaks down carbohydrates, and helps with cell growth and division. Vitamin B3 (niacin) helps produce energy, keeps skin, hair, and eyes healthy, and repairs DNA, among other things. The bottom line is that farro is loaded with nutrients and vitamins – one-fourth cup of farro can account for approximately 15-20% of your recommended daily intake of magnesium, zinc, and vitamin B3. It is an “all in one” food item that can cover many of your daily dietary requirements so you can stay healthy without a lot of effort.
Overall Benefit of Farro: Lower Risk of Disease
These five healthy aspects of farro will pay off for your body, both in the short- and long-term. Eating whole grains has been proven by multiple studies to not only facilitate health goals like weight loss, but also has been shown to prevent disease. The Whole Grains Council reports that consuming whole grains like farro results in reduced risk of:
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Gum disease
- Inflammatory diseases
- Colorectal cancer
The council also says that whole grains result in improved and/or healthier:
- Weight maintenance
- Carotid arteries
- Blood pressure
Because of its neutral flavor and adaptability, it’s easy to incorporate farro into a variety of recipes (keep in mind that farro is a wheat grain and therefore not gluten free). Hearty, nutritious, and tasty, farro is on track to become the next darling of the ancient grain family. Try it in salads, soups, omelets, and virtually anything you can dream up – the farro super wheat has limitless possibilities in your kitchen and incredible health benefits for you and your family.