Welcome Green Monsters! We're your online guide to making conscious choices that help people, animals and the planet.
Download food monster: the biggest, baddest, yummiest vegan food app!
single

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR Newsletter

Food Monster - Features

What Are Ancient Grains? And Why You Should Eat Them

LIKE OGP ON FACEBOOK :

Many ancient grains, or heritage grains, are gluten-free and versatile. From amaranth to spelt, ancient grains are loaded with trace vitamins and protein to keep you going. This particular group of grains is revered for its age and history: Greeks and Romans offered spelt to the gods; Aztecs considered chia seeds worthy of tribute, and farro is noted in the Old Testament. A resurgence of the old and the antiquated has made these grains once again shine in the spotlight, but what are they really?

Ancient grains are more than just relics from the past that have stood the test of time; they are cereals and seeds that have a robust texture and stellar nutritional profile.

“They contain lots of essential vitamins, particularly B vitamins, minerals like magnesium and potassium, more amounts of iron and they also contain protective elements like fibres and antioxidants,” said Chris Chapman, a nutrition project officer with the Grains, Legumes and Nutrition Council, “They’re nutritionally similar to grains…but they’ve got a little more bit more, which is unique and that is part of their popularity.”

Quinoa, millet, sorghum, amaranth, teff, freekeh, chia seeds, farro, spelt and Kamut all qualify as ancient grains. The latter three are not gluten-free, but some people with gluten or wheat sensitivities can tolerate them.

The health benefits of these grains range from a high omega-3 content to a hefty amount of B vitamins and zinc. A serving of farro or emmer wheat, for example, is high in protein (7 grams), fiber (7 grams), and iron (12%), plus it’s an easily digested strain of wheat. 10,000 years ago, farro was cultivated in the Fertile Crescent at the dawn of the agricultural revolution where it spread to Asia, Europe, Northeast Africa, India and Arabic peninsula. This variety of hulled wheat was said to have sustained the Roman army, but it is not sustaining health foodies and the health curious alike. But, farro’s story is not unique: all ancient grains have their place in history because their nutritional profiles, packed with complex carbohydrates, landed them a spot in it, just look at these three grains below.

Millet

The alkaline, complex carbohydrate and prebiotic, millet, is a staple of the Himalayan Hunzas, a people who have enjoyed superb health and longevity. The grain also contains serotonin for stress, niacin for cholesterol, and magnesium for migraines. Composed of 15 percent protein, millet is an excellent way for vegetarians and vegans alike to obtain sufficient protein requirements, plus it contains antioxidants, is gluten-free and hydrates the colon to ease constipation.

Sorghum

Hailing from Africa, this staple of Asia and West Africa is grown today in many countries, including the United States, India, and Nigeria, for it is the fifth most important cereal crop. Nutritionally, sorghum is high in fiber, protein, and B-complex vitamins. It is often used where conventional wheat is used.

Teff

This fun-size, quick cooking grain is super tiny and ideal for nomadic life, especially in the areas of Ethiopia and Eritrea where it has long-established ties. Teff can withstand many environmental conditions: it thrives in waterlogged areas, high altitudes, dry heat, droughts, and is not prone to plant diseases. Free of gluten, one cup of teff alone packs in 123 mg of calcium, a high dose of vitamin C, iron, protein, fiber, and resistant starch. Because teff is so tiny, it cannot be processed, so eating it in its whole form is necessary.

Ancient grains can be used in a multitude of recipes that traditionally call for wheat or rice. Pick up some freekeh, and make this delectable salad with earthy beets, crisp cilantro, and juicy lime. Vandana R. Sheth, RDN, CDE, Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics claims that this freaky freekeh is “higher in protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals and lower in glycemic index.”

Try some amaranth in a to-die-for baked good with bananas, maple syrup, and flax seeds. Or, fall back on some quinoa and make a crunchy pizza crust that is sure to please.

Don’t put ancient grains on a pedestal, and don’t be scared to try them. Journey on over to the local health food store and pick up some ancient grains, and relive the past.

Image Source: Armin Vogel/Flickr



Want to read more posts like this? Sign up for our newsletter below!​

Browse through some recent posts below:

Cinnamon, Sweet Potato, Pumpkin, and Apple … 15 Vegan Desserts With Fall Flavors to Tide Us Over Until Summer’s Over

apple pecan ice cream cake

Learn How to Cook Okra, the Southern Staple You Need to Try Right Now

Crispy Spiced Cauliflower and Okra [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

14 Sweet, Savory, and Delicious Vegan Waffle Recipes For the Perfect Breakfast, Brunch, or Dinner

red lentil waffles

How to Make Vegan Ice Cream Rich and Creamy

creamiest chocolate ice cream

Disclosure: One Green Planet accepts advertising, sponsorship, affiliate links and other forms of compensation, which may or may not influence the advertising content, topics or articles written on this site. Click here for more information.

8 comments on “What Are Ancient Grains? And Why You Should Eat Them”

Click to add comment
Mandy Kimbell
2 Years Ago

love my grains. Couldn't go vegan without them


Reply
Andrea Thorne
2 Years Ago

Millet


Reply
Julie Jules
2 Years Ago

GO VEGAN, best way to save Lives & Earth! Sending out loving prayers to awaken ALL HUMANITIES enlightenment, for ALL BEINGS to Live Free, in Harmony, Sustainably, with Compassionate Love & Joyous Abundance Now & Forevermore, make it so, amen.


Reply
Hoku Roberts
2 Years Ago

Interesting! I'm down.


Reply
Abby Edson
2 Years Ago

Gluten free!


Reply
Alisha Sissons Lockhart
2 Years Ago

Great article. Ended up reading some others on the site too.


Reply
Lara Harris
2 Years Ago

Thank you lovely!


Reply
Janine Loach
2 Years Ago

Lara Harris more for you to read up on x


Reply


Subscribe to our Newsletter




Follow us on


Do Not Show This Again

×

Submit to OneGreenPlanet


Terms & Conditions ×