There can be no doubting the economic importance of wheat and its significant contribution to human and livestock diets. Over the five years 2008 to 2012, average annual global production reached 680 million tonnes (mt), with almost 700 mt produced in 2011.
In comparison to rice, which produced 704 mt of grain over the same period, and to maize, which produced 874 mt, this makes it the third most important crop of the world. Despite this, wheat can be grown in virtually every region, from 67°N in Scandinavia and Russia to 45°S in Argentina, which includes high-elevation areas in the tropics and subtropics. Further, wheat is becoming increasingly popular in markets outside its climate-adapted region.
Due to the ability to make unique food products with wheat, and the increased consumption of those food products due to industrialization and westernization, wheat’s global demand has increased. It is particularly the gluten protein fraction in wheat that allows the processing of bread, other baked goods, noodles, and pasta, as well as a number of functional ingredients, to be possible. In addition to making or consuming these products more convenient than traditional foods, they have become a part of a “western lifestyle”.
There is no question that wheat is often regarded as a source of energy (carbohydrate) and it is certainly important within that context. Although it contains significant amounts of other nutrients like proteins, fiber, and lipids, it also contains a lot of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals, which may contribute to a healthy diet. A healthy diet is important to maintain good physical and dental health. If you’ve dental issues, make sure to go for a dental check up at a dentist in chesapeake.
An annual survey of food consumption and nutritional status is undertaken by the UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) every year in a sampling of 1000 people (500 children and 500 adults) aged 18 months and older. A recent survey covering the 4 years 2008/9 to 2011/12 makes it probably the most complete national survey to date.
Among adults, cereals and breads provided about three-quarters of their energy, and dietary fiber contributed about one-fifth of the average daily intake of nonstarch polysaccharides (dietary fiber). Wheat contributes significantly to the daily intake of protein, B vitamins, and iron due to its inclusion in cereals. In a country with a diverse diet, such as the UK, wheat contributes significantly to essential nutrients. Thus, it is critical to global nutrition (and not just in less developed countries).
In the case of less developed countries, a few comments can be made due to limited data. 80% of the energy and other nutrients in the diet of the rural poor in India are provided by cereals, which do not include vitamins A and C. Therefore, pulses, vegetables, fruits, and animal products must be added to make the diet more balanced and adequate, particularly for those people who lack iron, riboflavin, and vitamin A. According to Gopalan et al. (2012), the poor can also improve their diets by replacing a cereal diet (such as rice) with a mixed cereal diet including millets in order to reduce the risk of major nutrient deficiencies.
It is well documented that the Chinese diet has changed over the last 50 years, with cereal consumption increasing in rural areas and decreasing in urban areas.
Temperate zones produce the most wheat, which is in increasing demand in countries that are urbanizing and industrializing. Wheat is not only a major source of energy and starch, but also a good source of essential and beneficial nutrients, including protein, vitamins (notably B vitamins), fiber, and phytochemicals.
There have been well-established associations between cereal dietary fiber consumption and reduced risks for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and types of cancer (especially colon cancer). Wheat is the biggest source of dietary fiber in the UK, providing 20% of the daily intake. The content and composition of wheat’s beneficial components are highly variable, and some of them (such as dietary fiber) are the result of genetic inheritance.