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Freekeh: A New Superfood That Can Be Compared To Quinoa

Freekeh: A New Superfood That Can Be Compared To Quinoa

Quinoa is renowned as a Superfood, or a nutrient-rich food especially beneficial for health and well-being, not only for the health benefits, but for it’s versatility. But is another Superfood waiting in the wings to take the spotlight?

As it turns out, yes. Freekeh is steadily gaining popularity, and for good reason. Before we go deeper let’s look at what freekeh is actually first.

Freekeh (pronounced free-kah) is the result of wheat harvested while young and green. It’s roasted over an open fire and the straw and husks of seeds are burned and rubbed off. The grain on the inside is too wet to burn, so you’re left with a firm, mildly chewy grain with an earthy, smoky flavor[1].

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The Great Debate: Freekeh VS Quinoa

Why eat Freekeh? Why eat Quinoa? Should you favor one over the other? Each is packed full of of nutritional goodness, but how do they compare to each other?

Quinoa is a gluten free grain, making it a great choice for the many people who suffer from gluten allergies. Freekeh is not gluten free, as it is a type of wheat. It makes up for the gluten when it comes to protein and fiber content, since Freekeh has nearly double the amount of fiber and protein that quinoa does. This may result in weight loss for those adding it to a healthy lifestyle. For those living with diabetes, Freekeh is also the better option – it ranks at a low 43 on the glycemic index, whereas quinoa is higher at 54.

Let’s break down the additional nutritional components of Freekeh and Quinoa in the table below, using 100 grams of each as the serving size:

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Freekeh[2]

  • 353 calories
  • 60.8 grams carbohydrates
  • 14.9 grams protein
  • 2 grams fat
  • 12.9 grams fiber
  • 31 milligrams zinc (207 percent DV)
  • 32 milligrams iron (178 percent DV)
  • 3.4 milligrams copper (170 percent DV)
  • 370 milligrams calcium (37 percent DV)
  • 110 milligrams magnesium (28 percent DV)

Quinoa[3]

  • 120 calories
  • 21.3 grams carbohydrates
  • 4.4 grams protein
  • 1.9 grams fat
  • 2.8 grams fiber
  • 1.09 milligrams zinc (10 percent DV)
  • 1.49 milligrams iron (19 percent DV)
  • 0.19 milligrams copper (21 percent DV)
  • 17 milligrams calcium (2 percent DV)
  • 64 milligrams magnesium

Freekeh-Out: Numerous Health Benefits of Freekeh

Freekeh is truly worthy of being called a Superfood, even if all you know about it is its nutritional value. But it isn’t just good for getting in your vitamins — Freekeh also carries amazing digestive benefits.

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  1. Because of its fiber content, it can ease a number of common digestive complaints including diarrhea and constipation. This is huge, especially considering the number of people affected by digestive issues in the U.S. alone in 2010 was 70 million people[4].
  2. The fiber content in Freekeh can also aid weight control management, since it helps avoid snacking between meals due to feeling fuller longer. It contains three times as much fiber as brown rice, so there’s a good chance your stomach won’t be grumbling hours before your next meal!
  3. Along with fiber, Freekeh also contains loads of antioxidants which can positively impact eye health. This is thanks to the antioxidants called zeaxanthin and lutein. These are known to prevent macular degeneration which typically occurs as we age.
  4. Freekeh even aids muscular growth and endurance, thanks to an amino acid called glutamic acid. This is popular with bodybuilders and athletes, as it assists with improving strength and endurance, naturally.
  5. And as mentioned earlier, the wholegrain variety of Freekeh ranks low on the glycemic index, making it ideal for anyone trying to maintain their blood sugar levels. Even if you aren’t diabetic, healthy blood sugar levels are important, as out of control levels can lead to heart, kidney, eye and nerve damage[5].

While it sounds too good to be true, Freekeh really is as great as it seems, and easily attainable! Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe’s sell Freekeh, and Whole Foods’ website even offers a few recipes. But if you’re like me and prefer doing as much of your shopping online as possible, Amazon is also a great resource to purchase a variety of Freekeh, some options even offering bulk quantities.

I’ve bought it, now what?

Aside from gluten and calories (which do not impact everyone the same way depending on lifestyle and allergies), Freekeh offers much more than Quinoa. But what does it taste like? Sure, it’s kind of smokey and earthy, but that probably rules out adding cinnamon and milk and making it a breakfast. Nope! As it turns out, it’s incredibly versatile.

Freekeh can be added in place of your usual grain (such as quinoa) for an easy side dish, or even a salad topper. It’s easy enough to cook, only requiring about 20 minutes in a sauce pan on the stove. However, if you love meal prepping and skipping the process of cooking as you go, Freekeh can be soaked in water overnight in the fridge and simply headed when you’re ready to enjoy it[6]. It’s also delicious as a savory salad, mixed with chickpeas and herbs such as parsley, mint and garlic.

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And as it turns out, Freekeh can be eaten for breakfast! Adding Freekeh and coconut milk, honey, cinnamon, a little sea salt, fruits and nuts creates a delicious, sweet breakfast bowl which can be enjoyed hot or cold. It can even be used in stews, yogurt dishes, puddings and even cakes[7].

Staying Super

Though the list of Superfoods can often seem intimidating, with the many options available for preparing said foods, it’s easier than ever to maintain a healthy lifestyle while still enjoying meals. For instance, if you simply add strawberries and cherries to the breakfast Freekeh mentioned earlier, you’re fueling your body with three Superfoods first thing in the morning. And if you add Kale and Spinach to the Freekeh salad idea, you’ve just added two Superfoods without any effort. Don’t be afraid to change your routine and substitute certain Superfoods, like Quinoa, with Freekeh. You may find recipes you can’t live without!

Reference

More by this author

Heather Poole

Technical writer

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away

13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away

Creating your productivity ritual — a routine that helps you to maintain a peak level of energy can get you the best out of your days.

Part of creating your productivity routine involves removing activities that drain you (what I call “kryptonites”), and that includes your bad habits.

Like it or not, bad habits are bad for you — mentally, physically, emotionally and even socially in some cases. While some bad habits are harder to quit than others, it doesn’t change the fact that you need to get rid of them. Here are 13 bad habits to quit right away:

1. Stress Eating

I used to be a serious stress eater. I would eat whenever I felt unhappy, stressed, disappointed, anxious, or even… happy! My eating had nothing to do with being hungry, and everything to do with using food to fill my emotional voids.

While eating would comfort me, this feeling was momentary and would disappear right after I was done eating. Instead, what I had left would be the same emotional void that triggered me to eat in the first place (be it unhappiness or stress), a 2,000 excess calorie intake over what I should have eaten for the day, and anger at myself for having stress ate.

I’ve since overcome stress eating. I have healthy eating habits and a healthy relationship with food today where I no longer use food as a tool to fill my emotions.

If you are a stress eater, don’t fret — here’s how to manage your stress better:

How to Manage Stress (A Step-by-Step Guide to Turn Stress Into Success)

2. Nail Biting

Not only is nail biting unhygienic, it is also socially repelling, leads to dental problems like malocclusion of the anterior teeth,[1] potentially cause stomach problems,[2] and lead to severely deformed fingernails in the long run.

People who bite their nails tend to have shorter nails than the average person; their nail plates also experience scarring and may eventually become absent.[3]

Understand what triggers your nail biting behavior and replace it with another neutral to positive habit. Make habits to break habits.

For example, if you bite your nails when you are stressed, go for a walk or listen to music instead the next time you feel stressed.

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3. Hanging out with Naysayers

We all know these people — people who play devil’s advocate to every idea you have and every goal you want to pursue. We are already our greatest self-critics, so it doesn’t help when there’s someone beside us, ever ready to pounce on what we say and tear it down.

Hang out less with these naysayers and spend more time with supportive people who share constructive feedback instead. You will be much happier this way.

Learn how to get rid of naysayers with these 10 Ways to Ignore the Naysayers and Achieve Your Dreams.

4. Being with People Who Don’t Appreciate You

Haven’t all of us been in this situation before? Trying to please people who don’t appreciate us? Bending over backwards to be there for people when they are never there for us?

While we give without expectations of return, we need to draw a line with people who don’t value us because these people damage our souls.

Stop spending time with people who don’t appreciate you, and spend more time with people who do instead.

Unsure who you should get rid of? Learn about it here: 5 Kinds of Toxic People That You Need to Get Rid of Now

5. Smoking

Smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable death globally.[4]

In just the United States alone, about 500,000 deaths are attributed to smoking-related diseases annually. A recent study estimated that as much as one-third of China’s male population will have significantly shortened life-spans due to smoking! Gender-wise, male and female smokers lose an average of 13.2 and 14.5 years of life respectively — that’s over a decade of life right there.[5]

Not only that, smoking causes pre-mature skin aging (i.e. wrinkles), yellowing of teeth, bad breath, and worse of all — jeopardy of the health of people around you, including your loved ones. Studies have shown that non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke are at risk to many of the health problems associated with direct smoking.[6]

Smoking risks

    6. Excessive Drinking

    All of us know that drinking too much alcohol is bad for us, but do you know how bad it really is?

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    According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, drinking too much — be it on a single occasion or over time — can seriously damage your health:[7]

    • Brain problems: Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways, making it harder to think clearly and move with coordination.
    • Heart diseases: Cardiomyopathy – Stretching and drooping of heart muscle, Arrhythmias – Irregular heart beat, stroke, high blood pressure
    • Liver diseases: Steatosis or fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, fibrosis, cirrhosis
    • Pancreas problems: Pancreatitis, a dangerous inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas that prevents proper digestion.
    • Different types of cancer: Mouth, esophagus, throat, liver, breast

    If you drink a lot, perhaps cutting it out right away will be tough. Cut down the number of glasses you drink each time, followed by the number of times you drink a week.

    If need be, seek help from an AA group — you aren’t alone in this. Change starts from today.

    7. Eating Junk Food (Including Diet Soda)

    Junk food — they are everywhere in our society today. From McDonald’s, to KFC, to Burger King, to 24-hour takeouts, junk food such as fries, highly processed burgers and sodas has become a staple in our society today.

    If you think, “Hey, but junk food is tasty!”, think again:

    A study by Paul Johnson and Paul Kenny suggests that junk food consumption alters brain activity in a way similar to addictive drugs like cocaine and heroin.[8]

    “After many weeks with unlimited access to junk food, the pleasure centers of rat brains became desensitized, requiring more food for pleasure.”

    And you wonder why you seem to crave fast food when you just had some the day before?

    While it may not be possible to remove junk food completely from our diet right away, we can reduce our junk food consumption starting today. Instead of soda, opt for a fruit juice (fresh juice, not the carbonated kind) or mineral water. Instead of fries, switch to mashed potato, a salad, or rice (many food outlets allow for this today). Instead of a fried meat patty, go for a grilled one.

    Where possible, opt for healthy food joints like salad bars and delis as opposed to fast food outlets. Every little step goes a long way.

    Here’re some healthy snacks ideas for you: 15 Healthy Snacks You Should Always Have At Home

    8. Eating Too Much Red Meat

    There has been conclusive evidence that consumption of red meat increases the risk of colorectal cancer; and suggestive evidence that it increases the risk of oesophageal cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, and endometrial cancer.

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    In addition, some studies have linked consumption of large quantities of red meat with breast cancer, stomach cancer, lymphoma, bladder cancer, lung cancer and prostate cancer![9]

    Personally, I’m a vegetarian so I don’t consume red meat, but for those of you who consume red meat, do watch out and limit your intake — better still, cut it out of your diet. World Cancer Research Fund recommends limiting intake of red meat to less than 300g (11 oz) cooked weight per week, “very little, if any of which to be processed.”

    Of if you’re thinking about becoming a vegetarian, check out this guide: 5 Practical Tips For Starting a Vegetarian Lifestyle

    9. Watching Too Much TV

    I stopped watching TV since eight years ago and I have never regretted it. Every once in a while I will switch on the telly to see what is on, and then I will switch it off because it’s just the same boring shtick over and over again.

    Watching TV, particularly well-written dramas, can be a good way to unwind. However, remember that TV isn’t your life.

    Spending three hours every night watching TV will not change your life for the better. Rather, using that time to reflect on your life, take stock, and take action on your goals will.

    It’s not easy to remove TV from your daily routine right away, but follow these 6 Steps To Remove TV From Your Life.

    10. Being Late

    Not only is being late being rude to others, it also means that you’re always rushing from one place to another, playing catch up in your agenda, and having to apologize to every person you meet.

    Stop being late and not being punctual, but practice being early instead. Target to arrive 15 minutes earlier before any appointment and bring along something to do in those 15 minutes (or longer if the other person turns out to be late). Then you can stop playing catch up and stay ahead in life.

    Learn more tips about how to be more punctual here: How to Be On Time Every Time

    11. Being in Bad Relationships

    Are you always dating the wrong guys/girls? Do you end up with jerks all the time? Well, you may not be able to stop yourself from meeting bad partners but you can certainly stop yourself from furthering contact with them, spending time with them, or even… entering into a relationship with them.

    I used to invest myself in this guy who was nothing but toxic for me. After a good five months of experiencing nothing but getting burned over and over again, I realized that he was a total waste of my time and I deserved better. I decided to cut him off, and it was soon after that I met my soulmate.

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    Learn about why you shouldn’t stay in a bad relationship and how to deal with it if you’re in one: Why Trying Hard to Stay in an Unhappy Relationship Is Not Love, but Fear

    12. Leaving Things to the Last Minute

    Burning the midnight oil isn’t fun — it’s exhausting.

    Those of you who got through college by burning the midnight oil would have learned this the hard way. Not only is it damaging for your body, it is also mentally draining as you’re constantly in a hyper-tense mode, feeling anxious about whether you can finish your work on time.

    Start today on a new note. Rather than react to your deadlines, be proactive about them by planning ahead, identifying what needs to be done for the week, and getting things done in advance.

    By staying ahead of your tasks, you can also use your extra time to plan ahead in your life and get more things done.

    Take a look at this guide and learn how to stop procrastinating: Procrastination – A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating

    13. Focusing on the Negatives

    In every situation, there are two ways you can react: zoom down to the problem areas and crib about how things aren’t the way you want, or celebrate the areas that are going well and work on making everything better.

    Many of us see the importance of doing the latter but in practice, we do the former. Why though? Criticizing and focusing on the negatives is easy but it doesn’t empower nor inspire us to be better.

    Make a change — for every negative encounter you run into, I challenge you to identify three things that are good about it. Practice doing this for one week, and by the end of the week you’ll find that your first instinct is to think positive, not negative.

    And here’re even more ways to help you stay positive: 11 Tips for Maintaining your Positive Attitude

    The Bottom Line

    So here you find the 13 most common bad habits and their consequences on your mind and body. The good news’ you can quit them all.

    Just spot out your own bad habits and take my suggestions to quit them. Then you’ll find your life a lot healthier and happier!

    Need more tips to break your bad habits? Check out these articles:

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

    Reference

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