Grains are among the basic foods that you often see at the dining table. That is no surprise since grains are a staple food. They provide more energy than any other food group. Also, a lot of healthy grains are known for their ability to prevent certain diseases, like cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and Type 2 diabetes.
However, even with such health benefits, many people still believe that grains are an unhealthy choice. Experts, on the other hand, argue that it is only so if you consume more than the recommended amount. As long as you fill your diet with healthy grain choices and do not exceed the safe amount, you only have their health benefits to enjoy.
Also read: Carbs vs Protein, Get the Balance Right
We all know about quinoa, buckwheat, bulgur, or brown rice, but what are the other less known healthy grains on the market?
Discover 5 Ancient Healthy Grains To Add To Your Diet
It is an ancient wheat variety offering high levels of protein, fiber, zinc, iron, magnesium, and selenium. In fact, it boasts of 40% more protein than what regular wheat has. Kamut also offers anti-inflammatory effects led by its omega-3 and B vitamins content. In addition, it has vitamin E to help keep your immune system strong. Some studies show that this healthy grain is also capable of reducing blood sugar and cholesterol.
This grain is popular as the oldest form of wheat and is known to have higher levels of protein and lower starch content. Among the forms of wheat, Einkorn contains the highest level of nutrient content. However, this is not what made Einkorn special. It has a long list of benefits, including:
- Improved Digestion – True, Einkorn contains gluten, but only enough that even celiac patients often can handle it well.
- Nutrient Absorption – Unlike modern wheat, Einkorn does not cause issues to the digestive system, leaving the intestines in their best condition to allow for optimal nutrient absorption. It also helps that this grain contains less phytic acid than what regular wheat has, enabling less risk of nutrient deficiency.
- Anti-Inflammatory Effects – Vitamin B6 and magnesium are known for their capability to reduce inflammation, which Einkorn contains in abundance.
- Prevents Cancer – Studies showed that Einkorn has a significant amount of the lutein antioxidant, which helps prevent damaged cells, and in effect, cancer.
Known as the super grain in the ancient Aztecs, Amaranth boasts of 14% protein content and high iron, magnesium, and fiber levels. It is also gluten-free and has lysine to help with the body’s tissue growth and repair.
As one of the healthiest grains, Amaranth is boosted by its squalene content, a compound showed to help inhibit cancer.
Millet has served as a staple food in India, China, and Ethiopia for thousands of years. However, it was only recently that it gained popularity in the Western diet. Two things made it possible: the fact that it is gluten-free and its alkalizing effects.
In truth, millet is the most alkaline of all grains. In addition, millet boasts of its ability to treat the overgrowth of Candida yeast, and inhibit cravings for sweets. Apart from the ease of digesting this grain, it contains less phytic acid, preventing any interference with mineral absorption along the way.
As one of the healthiest grains, Teff contains high amounts of calcium and iron and is rich in phosphorous, vitamin C, copper, manganese, and magnesium. Teff is also gluten-free. But what makes it a healthy option is its high-resistant starch content, which lets it do two things: Prevent colon cancer and make you feel full for a longer time. It also aids in controlling weight and blood sugar.
Each of these staple healthy grains offers their own group of health benefits. However, remember that you must only consume up to a certain amount of grains to prevent any side effects.
For safe consumption, you need to limit your grains to three to eight ounces per day based on the number of calories you require. Moreover, you need to allocate half of this amount to whole grains.
Thanks for reading. I hope this information was helpful. Until next time!
Crazy cat lady, life and food lover, certified biologist, and holistic health coach.