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What is the history behind wheat?

Michael T. Murray, ND
Naturopathic Medicine
Wheat has been the most important grain throughout history. Thought to have originated in southwestern Asia, it has been consumed as a food for more than 10,000 years. First cultivated in the Fertile Crescent and later in Egypt, wheat was a decisive factor in the development of civilization.

In fact, the reverence in which wheat was held is noted in almost every major culture. For example, in Western culture, the Lord's Prayer symbolizes the importance of wheat and bread with the line "Give us this day our daily bread." Wheat is not native to the Western Hemisphere and was introduced here only in the late fifteenth century, when Columbus came to the New World. Though wheat was grown in the United States during the early colonial years, it was not until the late nineteenth century that wheat cultivation flourished, owing to the importation of an especially hardy strain of wheat known as Turkey red wheat, which was brought over by Russian immigrants who settled in Kansas.

Wheat accounts for the largest cropland area of any food, with more than 22 percent of all available cropland in the world devoted to growing wheat. The major wheat-producing countries in the world, in order, are the Russian Federation, the United States, China, and India. The leading wheat-producing states in the United States are Kansas, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Washington, and Montana.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.