8 Surprising Benefits of Rye | Organic Facts (2023)

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    by John Staughton (BASc, BFA)last updated -

    The most impressive health benefits of rye may include its potential ability to help with weight loss, increase the efficiency of your digestive system, help prevent gallstones, lower your risk of diabetes, lower your blood pressure, protect your cardiovascular health, help prevent various types of cancer, and even lower the chances of developing childhood asthma.

    What is Rye?

    Rye is one of the most important cereal crops and this type of grass is grown extensively throughout the world. The scientific name of rye is Secale cereale.Agriculturally, it is similar to wheat and barley, so it has many of the same applications. You can find itbeing used as everything, from animal livestock and the base of whiskey to different types of bread and rolled rye grains. Currently,it is majorly grown inTurkeyand neighboring regions. Suffice to say, it was widely cultivated in Roman times, and it was likely grown far earlier than that as well, given how easy it is to grow and how good it is as an agricultural staple. [1] [2]

    (Video) 5 Incredible Health Benefits Of Rye

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    Even today, the majority of rye is grown in Eastern Europe into Central and Northern Russia, but it is also be grown in North America, China, and South America. In terms of importance in the grass/grain competition, itis one of the top 5 most consumed cereals on the planet.

    One of the most dangerous things about relying on rye for your agricultural needs is the high susceptibility it has to ergot, agricultural rot. This could wipe out an entire harvest of rye if it began and spread, which is why some countries choose to grow other grains and grasses that are slightly more resilient. However, the impressive number of health benefits that come with rye consumption make a pretty good argument for adding itto your diet! [3]

    8 Surprising Benefits of Rye | Organic Facts (1)

    Rye grain is used for flour, bread, beer, crispbread, some whiskeys, and some vodkas. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

    Nutrition Facts

    Rye grain

    Serving Size :
    Water [g]10.6
    Energy 338
    Energy [kJ]1414
    Protein [g]10.34
    Total lipid (fat) [g]1.63
    Ash [g]1.57
    Carbohydrate, by difference [g]75.86
    Fiber, total dietary [g]15.1
    Sugars, total including NLEA [g]0.98
    Sucrose [g]0.71
    Glucose (dextrose) [g]0.16
    Fructose [g]0.11
    Calcium, Ca [mg]24
    Iron, Fe [mg]2.63
    Magnesium, Mg [mg]110
    Phosphorus, P [mg]332
    Potassium, K [mg]510
    Sodium, Na [mg]2
    Zinc, Zn [mg]2.65
    Copper, Cu [mg]0.37
    Manganese, Mn [mg]2.58
    Selenium, Se [µg]13.9
    Thiamin [mg]0.32
    Riboflavin [mg]0.25
    Niacin [mg]4.27
    Pantothenic acid [mg]1.46
    Vitamin B-6 [mg]0.29
    Folate, total [µg]38
    Folate, food [µg]38
    Folate, DFE [µg]38
    Choline, total [mg]30.4
    Betaine [mg]146.1
    Vitamin A, RAE [µg]1
    Carotene, beta [µg]7
    Vitamin A, IU [IU]11
    Lutein + zeaxanthin [µg]210
    Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]0.85
    Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]5.9
    Fatty acids, total saturated [g]0.2
    14:0 [g]0
    16:0 [g]0.19
    18:0 [g]0.01
    Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]0.21
    16:1 [g]0.01
    18:1 [g]0.19
    20:1 [g]0.01
    Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]0.77
    18:2 [g]0.66
    18:3 [g]0.11
    Tryptophan [g]0.11
    Threonine [g]0.29
    Isoleucine [g]0.21
    Leucine [g]0.56
    Lysine [g]0.29
    Methionine [g]0.15
    Phenylalanine [g]0.44
    Tyrosine [g]0.2
    Valine [g]0.32
    Arginine [g]0.45
    Histidine [g]0.19
    Alanine [g]0.41
    Aspartic acid [g]0.56
    Glutamic acid [g]2.29
    Glycine [g]0.42
    Proline [g]0.8
    Serine [g]0.46
    Sources include : USDA [4]

    (Video) 8 Surprising Benefits of Rye

    Rye Nutrition Facts

    All the health benefits commonly attributed to adding rye to your diet are the result of the nutrients, minerals, vitamins, and organic compounds that can be found in it. Some of these key components include manganese, copper, magnesium, phosphorous, B-complex vitamins, dietary fiber, and phenolic antioxidant compounds. [5]

    Health Benefits of Rye

    Now, let us look at the health benefits of this all-rounder in detail.

    May Aid in Weight Loss

    Rye is often considered to be a superior grain to wheat or barley in terms of weight loss efforts. The type of fiber in the rye is somewhat unique as it is extremely binding with water molecules, meaning that it makes you feel full very quickly. The problem with being on a diet is that you are often hungry, so you inevitably give in. However, by removing the feeling of hunger and creating some sense of satiety, the type of fiber found in it can keep you from snacking in between meals or overeating, which are two surefire ways to mess up your weight loss program! [6]

    May Prevent Gallstones

    Recent research has revealed an important element in rye that can help to lessen the severity of gallstones. This is somewhat connected to fiber’s impact on the digestive process, as explained above because fiber (particularly a mix of soluble and insoluble) can help to reduce the number of bile acids formed, which is the main cause of gallstone development. [7]

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    May Help Control Diabetes

    When it comes to blood sugar, diabetics must always be concerned and watch what they eat and when they eat it. Huge spikes and drops in blood sugar can be dangerous and cause diabetic shock, asphyxiation, and a number of other unpleasant outcomes. Wheat may actually cause more of a spike in the insulin level in the body, as it is made of smaller molecules that are quickly and easily broken down into simple sugar, which causes an increase in insulin. Rye, which is composed of larger molecules, is not broken down as quickly and therefore has less of an effect on blood sugar. [8]

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    May Improve Digestion

    As mentioned briefly in the weight loss section, the impressive composition and density of dietary fiber in rye may make it perfect for someone who is suffering from constipation or other blockages of the bowels. It can reduce excess gas, ease stomach pain and cramping, and prevent more serious conditions like ulcers, gallstones, or even colon cancer. [9]

    May Boost Metabolic Performance

    Research performed at the University of Kuopio has shown that rye can result in the down-regulating of genes, particularly if they are damaging or harmful, such as those that can cause insulin or other chronic genes. As compared to other grains in the same family, itappears to be the best at optimizing the metabolic performance of our cells, even at the earliest stages of gene development.

    May Lower Blood Pressure

    As with most grains, rye is known for being heart-healthy. If you are suffering from high blood pressure or atherosclerosis, then adding itto your diet on a regular basis is just as good, if not better for heart health as other cereal grains/grasses. These effects are the result of a number of variables, including fiber, vitamin, and mineral contents. [10]

    May Have Anticancer Potential

    A 2016 pilot study by theAarhus University,Slagelse, Denmark found that rye bread contains a compound calledbenzoxazinoid, which happens to suppress the spread of prostate cancer. However, they say that more evidence is required to actually arrive at a firm conclusion. [11]

    The Institute for Preventive Medicine, Nutrition and Cancer from Finland tested the effects of rye and found that the fiber and bioactive compounds, having anticarcinogenic and antioxidant properties, in rye bread are able to provide protection against breast cancer. [12]

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    Cancer Causes Control journal has published a study focussing on the effects of rye on prostate cancer. It found that rye bread consumption during adolescence can help in lowering the risk of prostate cancer. [13]

    A peptide called lunasin in the rye is also found to have cancer-preventive properties. Moreover, many other studies have also been able to construct a result suggesting that rye may help lower your risk of colorectal as well as prostate cancer. [14] [15] [16]

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    Although childhood asthma is often overlooked as a health epidemic that should be cured but isn’t, rye can significantly reduce the chances of developing childhood asthma. Research conducted at a number of schools showed that those children who regularly had grains, like rye, in their diet, were more than 60% less likely to develop childhood asthma than those children who didn’t have grains in their diet.

    Word of Caution:Just because it is not wheat does not mean it doesn’t fall under the classification of a “gluten grain”. Although wheat and rye do affect the body in different ways, if you are suffering from Celiac’s disease or believe you may have the condition and are trying to eliminate gluten to test your theory, then rye might not be that much of an improvement. [17]


    What are the benefits of rye? ›

    Rye is healthy

    It's a good source of soluble fiber, vitamin E, calcium, iron, and potassium, and has been linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, colon cancer, breast cancer and diabetes. Because rye is harder to refine than wheat, it retains more of its nutrients.

    What are some fun facts about rye? ›

    Fun Facts about Rye:

    It was believed to have originated in the Mediterranean or Turkey and then spread throughout Europe where it enjoyed a solid reputation as a down-market grain. Coarse, whole-grain rye flour is called pumpernickel. Rye, like corn, is a grass that is grown for its seed.

    How does rye affect my life? ›

    This grain has strong antioxidant properties and can be used for cancer prevention and to boost the immune system. It also boosts cell metabolism. Rye is very good for your digestive system. It not only helps with gout, ulcerative colitis, and cancer but also prevents the formation of gallstones in your system.

    What is the value of rye? ›

    The marketing year average price for rye in the U.S. in 2020 was $5.20 per bushel. The national average yield for rye is around 35 bu per acre.

    Are there any health benefits to rye bread? ›

    “Rye is a great source of vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, potassium and phosphorus, and antioxidants,” says Sussi. This is pretty on-par with the benefits of other whole grain breads. However, one of the main selling points of rye bread is that it's naturally high in fiber.

    Is rye good for blood pressure? ›

    If you're worried maintaining lowered blood pressure might mean giving up bread, you will be thrilled to know that whole grain breads made out of whole wheat, whole rye or whole multigrain have shown to have a blood pressure lowering effect if eaten regularly.

    What is rye facts for kids? ›

    Rye is a grain that grows well in poor soils and harsh climates. Grains are grasses that produce seeds that can be eaten. Poland, Russia, and Germany are major rye-producing countries. The scientific name for rye is Secale cereale.

    Why is it called rye? ›

    The name of Rye is believed to come from the West Saxon ieg meaning island. Medieval maps show that Rye was originally located on a huge embayment of the English Channel called the Rye Camber, which provided a safe anchorage and harbour.

    Why is rye so popular? ›

    The reason rye rose to popularity the first time was in the late 1700s to replace the rum which was no longer being traded thanks to the Revolution. Pennsylvania and Maryland were at the core of the rye boom. Like barbecue, rye had its own regional style.

    Does rye give you energy? ›

    In one study, people who ate rye bread had lower total and LDL (bad) cholesterol than wheat bread. Rye bread can boost your energy levels: The complex carbohydrates in rye bread are slowly absorbed by the body, which provides a steady supply of energy.

    Does rye help hair growth? ›

    Rye flour has the same pH as your skin. That is great news for your scalp and helps your hair grow healthy. No fuzz. Washing your hair with rye flour is as simple as mixing it with some water and applying it to your hair.

    Is rye a Superfood? ›

    Due to its high nutritional value, rye is gaining popularity in modern culinary arts. You might not know but this unique grain that dates back to 400 BC, is a superfood.

    Is rye good for diabetics? ›

    Rye bread is a good choice for people with diabetes because it has a lower glycemic index than other types of bread. This means that it does not cause your blood sugar to rise as quickly after eating it. Rye bread is also a good source of fiber, which can help to improve blood sugar control.

    Is rye healthier than wheat? ›

    When compared to wheat, rye is often considered more nutritious. In fact, some studies suggest that rye bread may lead to greater fullness and have less of an impact on blood sugar than wheat bread ( 14 , 29 , 30 , 31 ).

    How much protein is in rye? ›

    The protein content of the rye kernel ranges from 6.5 to 14.5%and is dependent on the crop growth conditions, although the grain protein content has also been reported to be primarily influenced by genotype (Hansen et al., 2004).

    Is rye bread good for your liver? ›

    Whole Rye Consumption Improves Blood and Liver n-3 Fatty Acid Profile and Gut Microbiota Composition in Rats - PMC. The . gov means it's official. Federal government websites often end in .

    Is rye good for weight loss? ›

    Swedish researchers have found that breakfasting on rye bread significantly reduces appetite, resulting in 16% fewer calories consumed at lunch. What's more, the suppression of appetite continued well into the afternoon.

    What are the nutrition facts of rye berries? ›

    Nutrition Facts Serving Size: ¼ cup (42 g) Nutrient Amount % DV Calories 140 Calories from Fat 10 Total Fat 1 g 1% Sodium 0 mg 0% Total Carbohydrates 30 g 10% Dietary Fiber 5 g 21% Protein 5 g Iron 8% To cook add 1 cup rye to 3 cups boiling water, cover and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes.

    Is rye good for the heart? ›

    Adding rye bread to your diet may improve several aspects of heart health, as research has linked its intake to lower levels of heart disease risk factors. For example, an 8-week study in 40 people compared the effects of eating 20% of their daily calories from either rye or wheat bread on blood cholesterol levels.

    Is rye good for cholesterol? ›

    In conclusion, rye bread is effective in reducing serum total and LDL cholesterol concentrations in men with elevated serum cholesterol. Good compliance with consuming a relatively large amount of rye bread in the usual diet indicates that rye bread offers a practical dietary means of reducing serum cholesterol in men.

    Is rye good for prostate? ›

    People use rye grass pollen extract to relieve the symptoms of noncancerous enlarged prostate ( benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH ). Some men who use rye grass pollen extracts say their symptoms have improved and that they get up fewer times at night to urinate.

    What is rye made out of? ›

    Most rye whiskeys use malted barley or corn as the other grains. As with bourbon, ground grain is mixed with water and a bit of mash from a previous distillation, in what's known as a sour-mash process. This introduces yeasts from the previous distillation.

    Is rye a fruit? ›

    Rye is a cereal grain closely related to wheat and barley. It is popular in Eastern Europe, with most of the world's crops grown in Russia, Poland, and Germany. Many common food and beverages contain rye, including bread, crackers, beer, and whiskey.

    When was rye first used? ›

    Rye whiskey was first distilled in 1750 in Pennsylvania by local farmers who blended it with corn. Rye's domination was short-lived because in 1783 bourbon whiskey was made and became the whiskey of choice of middle America.

    What does rye mean? ›

    Rye, a gender-neutral name, comes from the Gaelic word rí, which means "king." This name is also shared with the grain that's used in the production of whiskey and bread, giving it several layers of significance.

    What is rye and its uses? ›

    Rye (Secale cereale) is a member of the wheat tribe (Triticeae) and is closely related to barley (Hordeum) and wheat (Triticum). Rye grain is used for flour, rye bread, rye beer, and crispbread. It can also be eaten whole, as either boiled rye berries or rolled, similar to rolled oats.

    Why does rye taste good? ›

    Flavor: Mild flavor that's nutty, earthy, and slightly malty. (Think of the flavor of an old-fashioned malted milkshake.) Similar to whole wheat flour, it has a “greener” (think fresher) flavor. It lends itself to pairings with fruits and spices, and is also a natural fit with chocolate and nuts.

    What is the history of rye? ›

    Rye was once an island and has always been a port.

    Rye was a royal dockyard and shipyard, the naval base for royal galleys, and in 1336, together with Winchelsea, provided half of the ships and mariners of the Cinque Ports with Rye contributing the largest in the Confederation of the Cinque Ports.

    Is rye a probiotic? ›

    Rye could therefore be considered a candidate prebiotic. Rye is also rich in plant lignans. Intestinal microflora in the gut converts plant lignans into their mammalian derivatives, enterodiol and enterolactone, which may have a number of biological properties significant to human health.

    Does rye increase estrogen? ›

    Bread which contains wholegrains, such as flax, rye, wheat, barley or oats, have naturally high levels of lignans, a kind of phytoestrogen, and depending on the concentration in an individual loaf, can be an excellent way to help boost estrogen levels through food.

    Is rye a prebiotic? ›

    Rye is packed with the prebiotic fibre called beta-glucan (just like oats), but also fructan and arabinoxylan.

    Is rye bread anti aging? ›

    Rye also regulates blood sugar levels and reduces diabetes risk. And the antioxidants it contains combat free radicals and offer excellent anti-aging benefits.

    What truly makes hair grow faster? ›

    Vitamins B and D factor big in healthy hair. So do zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, and the B vitamin biotin. Your doctor can test you for deficiencies. Ask them whether you should take a multivitamin or supplement and how much.

    Is rye healthier than white? ›

    While multigrain bread is white bread with grains mixed in, wholegrain has grains (and often seeds) added to wholemeal flour for extra nutritional value. Wholegrain breads (including rye and sourdough varieties) have up to four times the fibre of white breads, making them one of the healthiest options.

    Is rye high in magnesium? ›

    A very good source of dietary fiber, phosphorus, magnesium, and vitamin B1, a great characteristic of rye is that is has a 4:1 ratio of magnesium to calcium.

    Is rye healthier than oats? ›

    Wheat and oats (oat flakes) are high in protein compared to rye and especially barley (pearled barley flakes). Wheat and barley have the highest content of starch, whereas rye is high in dietary fiber and sugars and oats is high in fat.

    Is rye better for you than wheat? ›

    When compared to wheat, rye is often considered more nutritious. In fact, some studies suggest that rye bread may lead to greater fullness and have less of an impact on blood sugar than wheat bread ( 14 , 29 , 30 , 31 ).

    What bread is best for gut health? ›

    Sourdough. Sourdough is easier on the stomach than other kinds of bread due to its prebiotics, making it easier to digest. Additionally, sourdough contains probiotics that are created during its fermentation process: Yes, there's a science to sourdough starter.

    Does rye lower cholesterol? ›

    In conclusion, rye bread is effective in reducing serum total and LDL cholesterol concentrations in men with elevated serum cholesterol. Good compliance with consuming a relatively large amount of rye bread in the usual diet indicates that rye bread offers a practical dietary means of reducing serum cholesterol in men.

    Is rye bread anti inflammatory? ›

    Health Benefits of Rye Bread

    Rye bread can help reduce inflammation: Rye bread is a good source of dietary fiber, which is known to help reduce inflammation. Rye bread also contains phenolic acids, which are antioxidant compounds that have anti-inflammatory effects.

    Is rye better for IBS? ›

    Rye bread induces gastrointestinal symptoms in some individuals, possibly due to the high fructan content[13]. Therefore, IBS patients may avoid rye products.


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