Food News: Is Rye Healthy For You?

Trusted Health Products
Written By Lisa S. Jones / Reviewed By Ray Spotts

A recent study shows that eating rye comes with a variety of health benefits. Rye sourdough used for the baking of rye bread is rich in lactic acid bacteria. In addition to fermenting the dough, these bacteria also modify bioactive compounds found in rye. They produce branched-chain amino acids and amino acid-containing small peptides, which are known to have an impact on insulin metabolism. The study from the University of Eastern Finland – published in Microbiome - shows that both lactic acid bacteria and gut bacteria contribute to the health benefits of rye. The study used a metabolomics approach to analyze metabolites found in food and the human body.

Many of the compounds found in rye are processed by gut bacteria before getting absorbed into the body. The study found that gut microbes and microbes found in sourdough produce compounds that are partially the same. However, gut microbes also produce derivatives of trimethylglycine, also known as betaine, contained in rye. An earlier study by the research group has shown that at least one of these derivatives reduces the need for oxygen in heart muscle cells, which may protect the heart from ischemia or possibly even enhance its performance. The findings can explain some of the health benefits of rye, including better blood sugar levels and a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases.

The study used metabolomics as the primary method to carry out an extensive analysis of metabolites found in food and the human body. The effects of gut microbes were studied in mice and in an in vitro gastrointestinal model, mimicking the function of the human gut. Using these two models, the researchers were able to eliminate naturally occurring differences in the gut microbiome between different individuals, making it easier to detect metabolites actually originating from rye. Although the health benefits of rye are long known, the underlying mechanisms are still poorly understood. For instance, the so-called Rye Factor refers to the lower insulin response caused by rye than, for example, wheat bread.

For a reason that remains unknown, eating rye makes blood sugar levels fall slower, which leads to beneficial effects on the health. A significant factor contributing to the health benefits of rye are its bioactive compounds, or phytochemicals, which serve as antioxidants. In addition, gut microbes seem to play an important role in turning these compounds into a format that can be easily absorbed by the body, making it possible for them to have a greater effect. "The major role played by gut microbes in human health has become more and more evident over the past decades, and this is why gut microbes should be taken very good care of,” says researcher Ville Koistinen from the University of Eastern Finland. “It's a good idea to avoid unnecessary antibiotics and feed gut microbes with optimal food such as rye."

Are Wild Bees The Secret To Better Berries?

We all love blueberries, I mean there is no better summer treat with a sweeter flavor - succulent and nutritious. Blueberries take about three to four years before they produce fruit and it takes an awful lot of time for a fully matured blueberry plant to yield. This bodes the question: What better way is there to get faster-growing and bigger blueberries? Well, look no further as research has shown that wild bees are an essential ingredient for bigger and better blueberry yields.

The first successful revelation of how wild bees improve the size, quality and other factors concerning blueberries is from scientists with the University of Vermont. Their studies show that wild bees provide major benefits for berry farmers such as a 12 percent increase in berry size, a 12 percent increase in quantity, an 11 percent increase in size consistency as well as earlier harvests by about two days.

This study was not the first to explore the effect bees have on blueberry yield,  but was the first to show that pollinators can improve the quality of crops as well, says Charles Nicholson who led the study as a Ph.D. student at the University of Vermont’s Gund Institute of Environment and Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources. The study appeared in Agriculture Ecosystems and Environment.

Wild Pollinators

Honeybees visit Vermont blueberries less often than in other blueberry locations. Because of this, the Green Mountain State is the best location for isolating the value of wild bees for farmers. Most pollination research occurs in regions overflowing with honeybees, making it difficult for farmers to see the job that wild bees can do for farmers, says co-author Taylor Ricketts, director of UVM’s Gund Institute of Research. The researchers carefully hand-pollinated blueberry plants in nine research sites using an electric toothbrush to copy the buzz pollination from bumblebees and then painted the collected pollen on over 5,000 blueberry flowers with small brushes. The production of the flowers, which received near perfect pollination, were compared with those that were naturally pollinated. The difference between the two conditions revealed each farm’s pollination deficit and the amount by which production can be improved by an increase in the number of wild pollinators.

Generally, the study has shown the importance of wild bees to agriculture on a global scale and is the first to map wild bees across the U.S. It suggests a decline in the abundance of wild bees by 23 percent between 2008 to 2013 mostly in key agricultural areas in the U.S. Another serious reason to protect these pollinators is that wild bees are better than honeybees at pollinating blueberries. Bumblebees in particular have gained the ability to buzz pollinate, vibrating the flowers at a particular frequency enough to release an abundance of pollen compared to honeybees which use less-effective methods to pry pollen from the flower.

Overall, the UVM team found that maintaining a high proportion of natural bee habitat around major farms as well as using less pesticides can help protect these species. Planting native wildflowers, putting out beeboxes and moving less are also protective actions by homeowners. By doing this, we add positive benefits to our agricultural economy.

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Written By:

Lisa S. Jones is a certified nurse, nutritionist, fitness coach and health expert. Her training credentials include a B.Sc. in Nursing from California State University in 2013 and Youth Nutrition Specialist Certification from the American Fitness Professionals and Associates in 2015. In 2017, she also received Holistic Nutrition Certification from the American Fitness Professionals and Associates.

Reviewed By:

Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com. 

Photo by Ales Krivec on Unsplash


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