In the quest to find healthier foods, many people are turning to super grains — also known as ancient grains — to unlock a variety of wholesome secrets. Super grains are those food sources that are high in fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals. Compared to today’s refined foods, super grains contain better nutrition.
The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend between three and six servings of grains per day. At least half of those should be whole grains rather than refined grains.
Nothing against brown rice, but it can get kind of boring week in and week out. And while Quinoa is wonderful and has seen a surge in popularity over recent years, it can actually bother some people’s sensitive stomachs. In lieu of brown rice and quinoa — here are five super grains that you should totally be eating:
Barley contains tons of insoluble and soluble fiber. A half cup has, at least, three grams of fiber while brown rice contains a little under two grams. Barely is touted for lowering cholesterol, and credited with helping immunity, digestion and regularity. This grain comes in pearl or hulled forms, but the pearled form has less nutritional value. For a different flavor, try grilled chicken with barley corn salad.
Teff is known as the world’s tiniest grain, and it’s about the size of a poppy seed. It’s a hearty grain that can survive in any type of weather. You go, grain! Because of its sweet flavor, it’s often used as a breakfast cereal, or found in bread, pasta or even pizza bases. Not sure how to get started? Banana bread with teff and chocolate is a good way to begin!
As an ingredient in bread, porridges and beer, this grain has many uses around the world. It grows best in dry, warm climates and dates back to 8300 BC. In the U.S., it’s often found in birdfeed. These birds must know what’s up, because scientists discovered that this grain is high in antioxidants. Millet is rich in niacin, folic acid, iron potassium, magnesium and vitamin B. The nutrients can reduce muscle pain or tension.
Millet can be served in three different ways: creamy like porridge, fluffy like rice or sticky like a potato. For those cold winter days, add millet to your diet by cooking up some curried sweet potato and millet soup.
This grain has more protein than wheat — up to 40 percent. It also contains vitamin B, omega 3s that help fight inflammation and vitamin E that helps boost the immune system. It’s used in pasta, breads and flour, and it’s also available in grain form. Although this grain can take hours to cook, this kamut with mushrooms and blue cheese recipe can be done in a slow cooker so it’s ready at the end of the day.
Rye isn’t just a bread loved by many a Rueben fan. The Rye grain has a reputation for reducing body weight, controlling blood sugar and suppressing hunger. Experts believe that rye may also be helpful in reducing the effect of genetic diseases.
Most grains found in grocery stores are of the refined variety, which means the nutritional content is reduced. However, many health food stores stock super grains in various forms, so be on the lookout for these five super grains you should be eating!