Rye is a cereal grain which resembles wheat but has longer and more slender stalks. Unlike wheat, however, it contains far less gluten. It has a color which varies from a brownish yellow to a greenish gray. Since it contains less gluten than wheat it does not trap as much air while making bread dough and consequently is not as light and soft as bread made from flour. Its texture is more compact.
It is sold as either flour or flakes. The flakes closely resemble oats. Rye cannot be separated from its bran which means that it retains most of its nutrients, making it a healthy grain to eat.
Besides bread, rye is used for making whisky, vodka and beer and is also used as animal fodder. It can also be eaten whole or after being passed under a roller, rather like rolled oats. It also has medicinal uses.
 Benefits of rye
Protects the heart
Plant lignans, a type of phytonutrient is found in whole grains such as rye. Plant lignas get converted to mammalian lignans in our intestines. Mammalian lignans , especially one called enterolactone, is believed to provide protection against heart disease.
Also, it has been conclusively proved that the consumption of whole grains reduces the risk of high blood pressure and heart attack.
Helps women going through menopause
Eating a breakfast of whole grains such as rye helps women undergoing menopause to control their cholesterol, blood pressure and also protect them against cardiovascular problems. Eating whole grains slows down the process of atherosclerosis, in which plaque builds up inside blood vessels often blocking them.
Rye also contains a lignan that is phytoestrogenic and helps reduce the discomfort of symptoms associated with menopause such as hot flushes.
Eating foods that contain a high amount of insoluble fiber, such as rye, ensures that food moves quickly through the digestive tract and also reduces the secretion of bile acids. Excessive amounts of bile acids contribute to the formation of gall stones.
The high fiber content of a diet which has rye keeps down blood sugar levels in patients suffering from diabetes. Also bread made with wheat sugar has been found to trigger a greater insulin response than bread made with rye. Researchers feel that this may be because rye bread is less porous and firmer than wheat bread. This means that when eaten, the particles of rye bread are larger than the particles of wheat bread, thus slowly down the process by which starch is converted to sugar.
Promotes weight loss
Rye is an excellent source of fiber. Rye fiber has a high water binding capacity which helps it give a feeling of satiety and fullness. This is especially helpful for people trying to lose weight.
Protects against breast cancer
Rye contains several powerful which provide protection against cancer, notably breast cancer.
 Selecting and Storing
Rye is usually available in pre packed containers. Make sure the ontainer is well sealed and check the expiry date on the label. Check for moisture and read the contents carefully to make sure there is no coloring. Sometimes wheat bread with caramel coloring is sold as rye bread.
Rye should be kept in a cool dark place away from heat and moisture where it will last for several months.
 Adding Rye to Your Diet
- If using whole rye berries, rinse thoroughly under running water. Boil a cup of rye with two cups of water. After bring the water to a boil allow it to simmer for an hour. Use as an alternative to rice.
- For a healthy breakfast make a porridge with rye flakes
- Use rye bread at home instead of white bread
- Use rye flour for making breads, muffins and pancakes
 Health Risks
Rye belongs to the group of grains known as gluten grains and may not be well tolerated by people who suffer from gluten intolerance, disease known as celiac disease. It would be wise for such individuals to completely eliminate it from the diet and then re-introduce it at some point to see if it causes an allergy.
 Did you know
- Rye is a cereal which is sometimes confused with rye grass, a fodder used to feed livestock.
- The roots of a fully grown rye plant can grow to a length of 380 miles while the root hairs can grow up to 6600 miles.
- A slice of wheat bread has 80 calories while a slice of rye bread has 65 calories.
- Rye bread is usually made from flour that is mixed with wheat flour. Bread made entirely from rye flour is called black bread because of its color.
- Horticulture and Landscape Architecture
- A Resource for Comparative Grass Genomics
- National Grain and Feed Association