ΖΕΑΣ : Τι ειναι η Ζέα και το αλεύρι ζέας και ποιες ειναι οι πραγματικές ιδιότητές του

ZEAS : What is Zea and Zeas flour and what are its real properties

For you to have reached this article, it means that you too have heard about zeas flour and want to know more. You see, we've all seen bakeries and supermarkets selling bread, nuts, bagels, and even pasta made from wheat flour. And many of us have heard of its supposed incredible nutritional and healing potential. But what is the truth and where does the lie begin? 

 First of all, the word zea or zeia or zeia is indeed ancient and refers to one of the most ancient cereals, which were indeed cultivated in ancient Greece. The city of Athens was also called Zidoros (the one who gives life) because its lands gave the inhabitants the local grain. Furthermore, the marina of Zea in Piraeus was named so because it was from there that Zea was transported to the other ports.

 However, since ancient times there has been great confusion about what life is. Since the 2nd century AD, there has been confusion over its identity, as various authors from antiquity tried to "identify" it: with the monocot wheat (Triticum monococcum ssp. monococcum), the tricot (T. turgidum ssp . dicoccum), spelled wheat (T. aestivum coll. spelta), barley (Hordeum vulgare), rye (Secale cereale), or sorghum (Sorghum coll.). even with... corn, since the Greek word zea is contained in the scientific name of maize (Zea mais) and a basic corn protein is called Zein. And in the latest Greek literature, life continues to be an unsolved mystery for scientists.

 Based on what we've read, the ancient zea could be spelled (triticum spelta), spelt, emmer wheat, emmer wheat, barley, rye, sorghum, or something else. However, today, what most people in Greece call wheat flour today is simply wheat flour.

 In any case, zea is an ancient grain and not some superfood as it was cultivated in ancient Greece mainly for animal feed! It began to gradually disappear from the literature from the 3rd century BC. and reappeared in it in the 1st century AD, when the endless debate about its identity began. It was therefore withdrawn from Greek agriculture long before the 1st century AD, when gymnosperm wheat, which required much less processing than "dressed" wheat, had become widely known.

 Bigrain wheat (Triticum dicoccum) remained for thousands of years the main cereal for the countries of the Middle East and North Africa where it was called aja or emmer and was also used there as animal feed.

 The former president of EFET, Nikos Katsaros, writes that Homer mentions the cultivation of this cereal in Laconia "... live the broad white wheat" but also in the Old Testament there is a reference 32 "but the wheat and the zea were not printed because it was late" [Exodus 9: 32,32]. Herodotus (5th century BC), the physician Galen (2nd century BC), Theophrastus (4th century BC) and Dioskouridis (1st century AD) referred to the consumption of zea by Greeks, Egyptians, Romans and its use as animal feed. It is also mentioned that M. Alexander gave his soldiers bread made from wheat flour.

 Despite its extensive cultivation in the past, its systematic cultivation began to be gradually limited from the early 1900s onwards, because varieties of wheat with higher per acre yield, less irrigation, easier harvesting and milling for flour production began to be cultivated.

 Despite historical references that in 1928, during the Prime Ministership of Venizelos, the cultivation of zeas was prohibited by law, nowhere is this documented. Nowhere is there a gazette that mentions this. What is certain is that it was gradually abandoned in favor of other more profitable varieties of wheat. That it was forbidden to be mentioned even in the dictionaries of the time is also not true.

 The following is for durum wheat.

 What are the nutritional facts of zea flour

 Zea flour's nutrients are no different from other types of wheat flour except that they contain lower amounts of gluten, higher amounts of lysine (an essential amino acid, a protein component) and higher amounts of the trace element magnesium. Both magnesium and the amino acid lysine can be conveniently obtained from water, meat and dairy products.

 Regarding gluten, zea contains smaller amounts of gluten (gluten index: 48.9%) than wheat but still contains gluten. That is why it is good not to be consumed by people suffering from celiac disease or those who have a gluten allergy and are affected even by very small amounts of gluten. Celiac disease is an autoimmune hereditary disease that comes from the lack of an enzyme in some people and causes abdominal pain, indigestion, headaches, dizziness, vomiting, digestive disorders, etc.

 Wheat, barley, rye and oats contain gluten. There is no medicine, vaccine, etc. for celiac disease other than the systematic avoidance of products containing gluten even in small amounts. In addition to this, however, the reduced presence of gluten gives some special nutritional characteristics to the bread.

Zea also contains vegetable fibers like other types of flour which certainly facilitate the functioning of the large intestine in general, but also vegetable fibers are recommended for diabetics.

 Zea flour contains vitamin A, thiamin and B vitamins [riboflavin, (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), vitamin (B6)], folic acid, vitamin E, and vitamin K. These vitamins we can also get them from meat, dairy, eggs, etc.

 The trace elements present in zea apart from magnesium are iron, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc and manganese which we also get from a simple healthy diet, water, dairy, meat, eggs, etc. Some miraculous properties that they are mentioned as: reduction of cholesterol, prevention of cardiovascular diseases, prevention of cancer, diabetes, weight loss, smooth menopause, good functioning of the digestive system, etc. have no scientific documentation. It is also reported that zea contributes to the fight against chronic inflammation as well as that it contributes to the protection against metastasis of various forms of cancer, without any scientific documentation.

 It is also reported to be particularly beneficial for brain function, completely arbitrarily and without scientific evidence. Finally, it is mentioned that two German doctors came to Greece in 1926 and after studies in Northern Greece found that the special spiritual abilities of the Northern Greeks were due to the consumption of wheat flour and after that they recommended to the German Government to prohibit the consumption of wheat bread which was imposed by law by E. Venizelos. None of this is true.

 Zea cereal has the same calories as other wheat varieties, despite any differences in nutrients. Of course, not only bread is made from wheat flour, but also pretzels, nuts, spaghetti and wherever else flour is used.

 Zeas wheat, which was gradually abandoned in Greece since the 20s, is coming back today as imported zeas wheat mainly from Germany.

 In recent years, the cultivation of zea seeds began to flourish in the Peloponnese, Thessaly, N. Greece and elsewhere. Of course, a lot of water and attention to grinding is needed, but the growers are satisfied to date.

 In short, no one knows what ancient life is and only guesses exist. Even so, in ancient times it was mainly used for animal feed. Today's "zea flours" are probably derived from whole wheat and are yet another "dietary fad" with the usual heavy dose of scientifically non-existent properties.

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