Recently, a large and growing body of literature has investigated the health potential of different wheat species. In particular, a considerable number of studies dealing with nutritional aspects has grown up around the theme of the recovery of ancient wheat varieties (species that have remained unchanged over the last hundred years). According to several studies, indeed, ancient varieties present a healthier nutritional profile than modern ones. In the framework of the European project "CERERE, CEreal REnaissance in Rural Europe: embedding diversity in organic and low-input food systems", this paper aimed to review recent research on the issue of health and nutritional cereal systems by adopting an innovative and participatory multi-actor approach which involved practitioners along with researchers. The participatory approach is the main innovation and peculiarity of this literature review. Nevertheless, the review highlights the many positive effects derived from eating whole and ancient grains such as a significant reduction in the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and also a more favorable long-term weight management and increase in satiety. This review may be considered as a fruitful starting point that integrates research results to foster current and future healthier and sustainable practices in cereal systems.
Keywords: ancient grains; cereal biodiversity; gluten-related disorders; inflammatory parameters; metabolic syndrome; participatory multi-actor approach; whole grains.