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Wheat is one of the most ancient and important cereal crops.

Here are 31 facts about wheat that you should be aware of:

1. Wheat is a member of the grass family widely grown for its seeds, a type of cereal that is a global staple food.

2. There are many species of wheat that together form the genus Triticum.

3. About 95% of wheat produced is common wheat (Triticum aestivum).

4. Wheat is grown to some extent on all continents except Antarctica.

5. Wheat is grown on more land than any other food crop: 220.4 million hectares.

6. In 2016, world wheat production was 749 million tones, making it the second largest cereal crop after maize.

7. World wheat trade is higher than for all other crops combined.

8. Globally, wheat is the main source of plant protein in human food, with a higher protein content than other major cereals such as maize or rice.

9. Like rice, wheat is the most popular food in the world.

10. All types of wheat can be divided into two major groups: spring wheat and winter wheat. Spring wheat is planted in spring and harvested in summer. Winter wheat is planted in autumn and harvested in spring.

11. Botanically, wheat kernels are a type of fruit called “caryopsis”.

12. Wheat normally requires between 110 and 130 days between sowing and harvest, depending on climate, seed type and soil conditions (winter wheat is dormant during frost).

13. Some varieties of wheat grow to a height of 210 centimeters, but most are between 60 and 120 centimeters tall.

14. Grows best between 21° and 24°C.

15. In early summer, plants begin to fade from dark green to tan and then to a golden brown. The wheat is then ripe and ready for harvest.

16. Because wheat is such a versatile plant, it is harvested every month of the year.

17. In 100 grams, wheat provides 327 calories and is a rich source of essential nutrients such as protein, dietary fiber, manganese, phosphorus, and niacin. Several B vitamins and other dietary minerals are in significant content.

18. Wheat is 13% water, 71% carbohydrate, and 1.5% fat.

19. 13% of its protein content consists mostly of gluten, about 75-80% of total wheat protein, which, upon digestion, contributes amino acids to human nutrition.

20. When eaten as a whole grain, wheat is a healthy source of food with several nutrients and dietary fiber recommended for children and adults in several daily servings, which is about one-third of the total amount of food.

21. Research has already shown that wheat is highly beneficial for a healthy life. It considerably lowers the risk of heart disease, due to its relatively low fat content. It also regulates blood glucose levels in patients with diabetes.

22. The health benefits of wheat depend entirely on the form in which it is consumed.

23. More types of food are made with wheat than with other grains.

24. Foods such as bread, pasta, biscuits, bagels, pancakes, pies, pastries, cakes, muffins, and breakfast cereals are just a few common examples of wheat sources.

25. Consumed worldwide by billions of people, wheat is a significant food in the human diet, especially in less developed countries where wheat products are staple foods.

26. In genetically sensitive people, gluten – an important part of the protein in wheat – can trigger coeliac disease. Celiac disease affects about 1% of the general population in developed countries. While coeliac disease is caused by a reaction to wheat protein, it is not the same as a wheat allergy.

27. The top five producers of wheat in 2016 were China, India, Russia, the United States, and France.

28. Wheat is produced in almost every state in the United States and is the main type of grain grown in the country.

29. In fact, on average, Kansas is the largest wheat producing state in the United States. Nearly 20% of all wheat produced in the United States is grown in Kansas.

30. Wheat is the third largest crop produced in the United States after corn and soybeans.

31. Wheat was first planted in the United States in 1777 as a recreational crop.

If you want to find out about soy, check out our article on this topic: Is soy gluten-free?

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