Grains are a good source of fiber, vitamins B1, B2, B3, and folate, as well as minerals such as iron, magnesium and selenium. Studies have shown that individuals who consume whole grains on a regular basis are at a lower risk of developing chronic diseases. While some diets (like paleo) don’t encourage the consumption of grains, there are many health benefits associated with them. Read on to find out more!
If you’re tired of the same old grains you use everyday (we’re looking at you, rice!), then it’s time to change it up a bit and also boost the health benefits. Here are 10 grains you should be eating more of!
This grain is chewy with a sweet, nutty flavor. It’s especially rich in vitamin B3, a vitamin essential for heart health. It also has a decent amount of manganese and iron. It takes some time to cook (more than an hour) and is not gluten-free, but it goes well in pilafs, salads, and soups. You can also use spelt flour n baked goods.
Millet is a gluten-free grain that has been consumed for millennia. Toasting the millet gives it a sweet flavor and the texture is similar to porridge. You can use millet in warm salads, granolas, casseroles, and veggie patties. Because it has a mild flavor, it’s important to season it well with herbs and spices. Millet is a great source of fiber, most B vitamins, and iron.
Farro is a popular grain in Italy. It is nutty with a chewy texture like barley. It’s a powerhouse of nutrients being high in B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium, fiber, protein, and iron. Farro can be used with soups, risottos, and warm salads, but take note that it’s not gluten free! It takes between 30 and 60 mins to cook, depending on whether you’re using semi-pearled or whole grain.
Sorghum is a gluten-free grain that has been consumed in Africa for thousands of years. It has a mild, slightly sweet, flavor with a chewy texture. To cook it, it needs to be simmered for about 60 minutes. Use the cooked sorghum in pilafs and salads. You can also pop it like popcorn! Sorghum is packed with antioxidants – even more than blueberries and pomegranates!
You might not think of chia seeds as grains, but this gluten-free grain has been part of the Mayan diets thousands of years ago. They have a nutty flavor, and once soaked in liquids, they become gummy and gelatinous. Use it to give texture to granolas, smoothies, salads, or puddings. Chia is considered a complete protein and is remarkably high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Khorasan is sold under the trademark name Kamut. It’s an ancient grain that was first grown in Mesopotamia and Egypt. The flavor is rich and nutty, while the texture is firm. It’s high in selenium, zinc, and magnesium, as well as fiber and amino acids. Use it in pilafs, salads, soups, and casseroles.
You might be more familiar with this grain from the grass family. It has a rich, nutty flavor, and gives a chewiness to the dishes you add it to. It’s especially great for those with cholesterol, as it lowers cholesterol, but it also has antioxidants that may play a preventative role in certain cancers. Use it in risottos, salads, and casseroles.
These super small seeds have been cultivated in South America about 6000 years ago. It has a toasted, malted, and nutty flavor. It only needs about 25 minutes on the stovetop to cook, and you can use it in porridge, casseroles, baked goods, and even pastas. It’s a gluten-free grain, and is especially high in iron, protein, and fiber.
Teff is another small seed that packs a punch of nutrients (it’s also gluten-free by the way!). It’s high in fiber, a great source of protein, manganese, iron, and calcium. It’s also has a wealth of vitamins and minerals. Use teff in baked goods, porridge, and salads. You can use it on various dishes as a crunchy topping.
This grain can be regarded as a superfood. It’s high in protein, magnesium, zinc, and all the B vitamins. It even contains carotenoids (great for anti-aging!). You can use freekeh in either sweet or savory dishes – add to casseroles, soups, or pilafs, or for something sweet, you can use it in parfaits or granola.