The value of ancient grains has been rediscovered.
Over the last few years, certain types of grains that were eaten centuries of years ago have again become available to those who want the nutrition that they offer. If you have ever eaten buckwheat pancakes, then you have already eaten an ancient grain. Buckwheat – which is not actually wheat – is actually gluten-free, making it perfectly safe for those with a food allergy to wheat. It is high in protein and is a good source of manganese, magnesium, copper, and fiber.
The next time you are at your local grocery store, you can find buckwheat pancake mix right on the shelf with the other pancake mixes made with wheat flour. It is a good idea to include these ancient grains in your diet because of their nutritional value.
Uses of Ancient Grains
Ancient grains, such as millet, teff, sorghum, buckwheat, and amaranth can be used to make many different foods. They are very healthy and are a good choice for those with a gluten intolerance or wheat allergy, but they are actually very healthy for anyone else to eat as well. You may be able to find some of these products in the organic frozen section at your local grocery store, or you can order them online. You can also buy flour from these grains so that you can make pie crusts, biscotti, and many other baked products.
Amaranth and the Ancient Aztecs
Humans have been growing amaranth since around 3500 B.C. There are actually three species of this plant, and two others were grown around 1 A.D. This grain is a great source of phosphorus, iron, potassium, folate, and antioxidants. Another great benefit of this grain is that when it is combined with corn, it makes a complete protein. The Aztecs fed amaranth to ancient runners for energy and so that they could perform better in races. According to the National Academy of Sciences, amaranth is one of the 20 foods that Americans should begin including in their diets. This grain is now grown in 21 different states.
Other Types of Ancient Grains
You may have eaten millet and not realized it because it is often added to multigrain bread. Millet is grown in every state in the United States except for four and is often used as bird feed and livestock feed. This grain has a mild flavor and is filled with B vitamins, fiber, iron, magnesium, and potassium. Sorghum was first grown in Eastern Africa in 4,000 B.C. It is an important cereal in Africa and Asia and has a mild taste. More than 500 people in the world use this grain as a staple in their diets. Teff is also a grain that is native to Ethiopia, where it is mainly used to make flat bread. This grain is very high in calcium and iron.