What is the best grain for health

Rye and its valuable role in human health

Rye provides most of the fiber and many vitamins

The grains contain approx. 60% carbohydrates, 9% protein, 13-15% fiber and 2% each of fats and minerals. Rye is the best source of easily digestible fiber, which lowers blood cholesterol and glucose levels. In terms of its value, rye is ahead of all other types of grain (Tab. 1).

The most important components of the rye grain are in the germ and in the surface layer. They contain 85% vitamins and 80% minerals. Rye is a typical source of potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc and folic acid. Potassium regulates e.g. the water balance, affects the heart function and has a blood pressure lowering effect. Iron supports the oxygen supply and blood formation. Magnesium is important for nerves, muscles and concentration.

Rye contains vitamins B1 and E, zinc and manganese. Vitamin B is required for important metabolic processes in our body and strengthens our nerves. Vitamin E protects our cells, zinc our immune system and manganese is especially necessary for healthy connective tissue.

Due to its high proportion of Fiber the rye can also be recommended especially for diabetics and for weight loss. They increase the feeling of satiety, slow down gastric emptying, increase stool volume, influence blood sugar, lower blood cholesterol and, by binding bile acids, also prevent colon cancer.

The dietary fibers (fiber) are carbohydrates that are indigestible for humans and are mainly contained in plants. They are divided into soluble and insoluble fibers (Fig. 1). They serve as an energy source for microorganisms in the intestine and are very important for a healthy intestinal flora, functions of the intestinal tract and our immune system. They ensure good digestion and have a positive effect on the gastrointestinal tract through their prebiotic effect. Dietary fiber stimulates bowel movement, increases stool volume and contributes to regular bowel movements, thus preventing constipation.

Rye is particularly characterized by its high proportion of pentosans. Pentosans belong to the group of hemicelluloses, also known as mucilage, and are an essential part of the cell wall. They are important as dietary fiber in the human diet. For example, the feeling of hunger is slowed down, because during digestion pentosans bind water and swell up, so that we feel full faster.

This effect is reinforced by the low glycemic index (low blood sugar increasing effect). In this way, we protect ourselves from food cravings and feel satiety for 4 to 8 hours. Rye bread as breakfast bread fills you up and would therefore be ideal to start the day. The aromatic and crispy crumb is particularly typical of rye bread.

The pentosans are responsible for this wonderfully crispy crumb in rye bread. Pentosans occur with 6 - 8% distributed over the entire grain. They can absorb six to eight times their own weight in water and store the water throughout the entire baking process. They therefore help keep rye bread fresh and prevent it from drying out quickly.
According to the German Nutrition Society (DGE), a daily intake of at least 30 g of fiber is recommended. In today's diet, however, an average of only 15-17 g of fiber is consumed (Fig. 2).