A study comparing historic and modern wheat varieties grown side by side has shown an increase in dietary fibre and other features beneficial to human health.
This is contrary to concerns that the push for higher yields has made today’s wheat less ‘healthy’ than older types.
The 39 wheats varieties, spanning a period of 230 years, were grown for three years running at Rothamsted Research in Hertfordshire.
Dr Alison Lovegrove, researcher at Rothamsted Research, says: “Despite concerns over the declining genetic variation found across modern wheat types, there is no evidence that the health benefits of white flour from wheat grown in the UK have declined significantly over the past 200 years.
“In fact, we found increasing trends in several components, notably the major form of dietary fibre. This is despite great increases in the yields of wheat grown over this period.”