Rye is a wheat-free but gluten containing grain that is traditionally eaten in the form of breads or crackers. The health benefits of rye include cancer and heart disease protection and digestive health.
Rye is an excellent source of selenium and manganese and also contains magnesium in good amounts. It also contains good amounts of the B vitamins folate, riboflavin, niacin and thiamin.
Rye for Heart Disease Prevention
Rye is a good source of the cholesterol lowering B vitamin niacin and the blood pressure lowering mineral magnesium. Wholegrains, like brown rice are a good source of fibre. A meta-analysis of 7 studies showed that people with the highest dietary fibre intake had the lowest cardiovascular risk. Studies have shown that when barley was added to cholesterol lowering diets, the results on lowering bad and raising good cholesterol were more pronounced then if it had been left out.
Rye for Wheat Allergy
Rye is 100% wheat-free and makes delicious breads, making it a good substitute for people who cannot tolerate wheat due to allergies and intolerances. It does contain gluten, however, and is not suitable for people who need to be on gluten free diets
Rye for Diabetes Prevention
The mineral magnesium forms part of the glucose-regulating compound (known as glucose tolerance factor), along with chromium and vanadium, which are also found in wholegrains. Studies have shown that regular consumption of wholegrains lowers Type 2 diabetes risk. In one 8-year trial of over 40,000 subjects, risk of Type 2 diabetes was found to be 30% lower in women who frequently consumed wholegrains compared to those who ate the least of these foods. The low GI of rye bread helps to create a more sustained release of glucose into the bloodstream, which prevents sugar spikes and puts less stress on the pancreas that needs to pump out less insulin to deal with the glucose load.
Rye and Cancer Prevention
Wholegrain compounds in rye may help with cancer prevention. A study of over 35,000 participants showed that those consuming the most wholegrains had a significant reduction in breast cancer risk compared to those with low wholegrain intakes. The main reasons for wholegrains offering protection have to do with their high fibre content as well as their high nutrient and antioxidant content. In addition, wholegrains contain special compound called lignans, which are converted by good bacteria in the gut into useful substance that can help prevent cancer.
Rye for Digestive Health
Another of the health benefits of rye is its ability to aid digestive health. Wholegrains are a rich source of insoluble fibre, which increases stool bulk and decreases the transit time of waste through the intestines.