Healthy Ancient Grains You Should Eat

Hand in QuinoaWhile grocery shopping, my eyes caught a glimpse of a box of cereal that was on sale. The brand of cereal especially caught my eye because the company also makes herbal teas.

After reading the label, I purchased a box of Walnut Spice Crunch – All Natural Cereal by Yogi.

Warning to Vegans

This cereal has honey in it and I did not discover this until now. Will I throw it out because of the honey? Nope, I cannot do it, because I spent money and my taste buds like it.

I could not wait to try this cereal. While eating a bowl of Walnut  Spice Crunch, I read the headline message on the back of the box.  The headline says, “Add healthy variety to your diet with Yogi ancient grains.” There is a list of five ancient grains on the back of the box and a sentence about the benefits of each one of these ancient grains.

  • Oats
  • Barley
  • Spelt
  • Quinoa
  • Amaranth

The information about these ancient grains piqued my curiosity to learn more. Research has revealed that these ancient grains are very healthy.

Definition of Ancient

Ancient means having had an existence of many years.

How old are these ancient grains?

  • Oats – Cultivated for 2,000 years in various regions throughout the world.
  • Barley – Originated in Ethiopia and Southeast Asia. Cultivated for more than 10,000 years.
  • Spelt – Native to Iran and southeast Europe. The most popular grain, cultivated for  7,000 years or more.
  • Quinoa – Relatively new to the United States. Cultivated in mountain regions of Peru, Chile and Bolivia for over 5,000 years.
  • Amaranth – cultivated as a grain for 8,000 years

Benefits of Ancient Grains

Oats

  • Helps lower cholesterol levels
  • Supports a healthy cardiovascular system/heart
  • Helps stabilize blood
  • Soluble fiber
  • Antioxidant benefits

Barley

  • Helps with regularity
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Good source of selenium
  • Good source of fiber
  • High in phosphorous, copper and manganese
  • Natural source of antioxidants

Spelt

  • More nutritious than modern wheat
  • Excellent source of vitamin B2
  • Good source of niacin, thiamine,  manganese and copper
  • Helpful for persons with migraine headaches
  • Helpful in atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
  • Helpful for persons with diabetes

Quinoa “gold of Inca”

  • Gluten-free
  • Helps sustain energy
  • Promotes vitality
  • High in protein. Complete protein and has all 9 amino acids
  • *Good choice for vegans
  • High in the amino acid lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair
  • Good source of magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorous
  • May be valuable to persons with migraine headaches, diabetes, and atherosclerosis

Amaranth

  • Gluten-free
  • Helps lower cholesterol
  • Low in saturated fats
  • High in fiber
  • Rich in lysine
  • High in protein
  • Good source of iron, magnesium and phosphorus
  • Good source of vitamins A and C and calcium
  • Contains vitamin E (promotes healthy circulatory system)

These ancient whole grains offer many health benefits. Consider adding a few of these ancient grains to your diet.

Here are a few recipes using quinoa. Mike Foster’s Three Bean Vegan Chili with Red Quinoa and Curry Quinoa by Tracey McQuirter.  You can also learn how to make Quinoa-Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms by Gavan Murphy.  The recipe for the Curry Quinoa is below.

Curry Quinoa (By Any Greens Necessary by Tracey McQuirter)

This is my staple grain. It’s rich in protein and quick to cook, so I recommend it often. – Tracey McQuirter

1 cup quinoa, rinsed

2 cups water

1 teaspoon Bragg Liquid Aminos

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon curry powder

Place quinoa and water in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, add the rest of the ingredients, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes, until water is completely absorbed. Serve as a basic side dish instead of brown rice.

Makes 4 servings

Have you eaten any of these ancient grains? If yes, which ones?

Sources

WH Foods

Ehow

Merriam Webster’s Dictionary

Image credit:  “Hand in Quinoa” by Francisca Ulloa

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  • http://www.yourdietandhealth.com/ tassiewanderer Your Diet And Health

    Hi, Quinoa is an amazing grain, especially for vegans and vegos due to its amino acid profile. For me its a little bit bitter, but this is my trick – if it helps anyone. I give it a good soak then ditch the water and allow the grains to sprout just till the sprout breaks the surface of the grain. No bitterness at all, and it probably increases the protein. No proof of that, but protein in rice increases when you sprout it.

    • http://evelynparham.com Evelyn Parham

      Hi Tassie,
      Welcome to my blog!

      I rinse qunioa, but I always notice a slight bitter taste. I’ll try sprouting the next time I cook them. I don’t think sprouting time is long.
      I’m sure it probably does increase the protein and the life/enyzmes as well. I’ve had sprouted uncooked quinoa and I don’t recall a bitter taste at all.

      Thanks for sharing your helpful tips!

      Take care,

      Evelyn

  • http://www.eco-friendly-digest.com/ Jazz

    Hi Evelyn,
    Thanks for this article. I live eating organic bread with ancient grains, but I like a previous commentor (Patricia) was not aware of the high nutritional value of amaranth. High in iron,magnesium and phosphorus! That is fabulous!
    I am always looking for ways to boost these particular minerals in my diet.
    Thanks again!
    Jazz

    • http://evelynparham.com Evelyn Parham

      Hi Jazz,

      That’s great that you love eating organic bread. I do too. My brand of choice is Ezekial bread.

      Yeah, these grains are very nutritious.

      Take care,

      Evelyn

  • http://ChocolateOrchid.blogspot.com/ ChocolateOrchid

    Wow! You’ve certainly sparked my interest in the cereal. Sounds like its packed w/good stuff.

    And thanks for sharing these recipes. They all sound delicious.

    • http://evelynparham.com Evelyn Parham

      Hi Cheris,

      Yes, it is very good. It has a cinnamon spice flavor. I remember seeing one with gogi berries. I picked it up at Sevenanda (not sure if WF carries it or not).

      No problem! ;)

      Thanks for stopping by,

      Evelyn

  • http://yourhealthblog.net/ zool

    Just read your info. Yup grains is good cereal for our health.. Good info

    • http://evelynparham.com Evelyn Parham

      Hi Zool,

      Thanks for stopping by.

  • http://www.2achieveyourgoals.com Dia

    Hi Evelyn,

    Very informative post. I like oats as it helps to reduce the cholesterole. I think it is all about eating healthy and balanced food. I never heard of amaranth before. Thanks for sharing this Evelyn and for informing us on how to eat healthy food. ;)

    • http://evelynparham.com Evelyn Parham

      Hey Dia,

      Oats seem to be very common. I don’t know too many people who don’t like oats. :)

      That’s what I’m here for and it’s my pleasure. ;)

      Take care,

      Evelyn

  • http://www.thereflectiveself.com Dandy

    Hi Evelyn,
    Thanks for this. I didn’t know that amaranth was gluten free. That’s great to know. My sweetheart suspects he may have an allergy or intolerance to gluten, so we will be doing some experimenting to see how gluten free will affect him! This helps alot. I just love grains. I love how they make me feel full and satisfied!

    • http://evelynparham.com Evelyn Parham

      Hi Dandy,

      There are many alternatives. I have seen gluten-free cookies, pasta (brown rice) and other things at the market.

      Grains stick with me too. :)

      Glad it was helpful!

      Evelyn

  • Bryan Thompson

    Evelyn, I don’t know how much of these other grains I eat, but I love oats. We are oat-nuts (no pun intended) at my house. I am trying to do better about grains.

    Again, I’m not a vegan, so I don’t understand it all (my wife is a vegetarian and is considering making the jump), but someday you’ll have to explain to me the whole “honey” issue. Is it because it’s made by bees? I’m curious. You don’t have to get off topic here, but I am curious.

    • http://evelynparham.com Evelyn Parham

      Hi Bryan,

      Oat-nuts..lol. Oats are good. As long as you are eating some, that’s all that matters.

      You’re considering becoming a vegetarian, that’s great. Since your wife is a vegetarian, it shouldn’t be too hard for you.

      Well, since it comes from bees (considered living-animal) and some bees are harmed during the honey collecting process, it is not classified as a vegan food. I’m not too versed on this topic, so I could be wrong.

      But I personally feel that eating honey will not make me any less vegan than someone who is a strict vegan. I eat honey sometimes, but only when it is in a food that I did not prepare. Another reason I am not drawn to honey is because I’ve never really cared for the taste.

      Take care,

      Evelyn

  • Cori

    We always have barley and oats at home. I’ve never heard of spelt and amaranth. As for quinoa, I always see it on the shelves of the stores, but I never buy it for I don’t know how to prepare it. I have to try your quinoa curry recipe. Thanks for this informative and helpful article about ancient grains.

    • http://evelynparham.com Evelyn Parham

      Hi Cori,

      Welcome to my blog!

      That’s great!

      Quinoa is easy to prepare. I never tried it because, like you I didn’t know how to prepare it. But once I prepared it, I find that I really like it. It has a nutty taste with a little texture.

      Hope you give it a try and that you like it.

      Take care,

      Evelyn

  • http://www.jennifervalerie.com Jennifer C. Valerie

    Oats is a staple around our home. We use it in veggie patties, homemade muesli, cooked porridge. It’s great. I have quinoa that someone gifted us with. As soon as I get back on my feet I will be doing the curried quinoa. I already do curried rice so I think I’ll enjoy the curried quinoa. Thanks for sharing about these ancient grains Evelyn.

    • http://evelynparham.com Evelyn Parham

      Hi Jennifer,

      Good to see you!

      You’ll enjoy quinoa. It is a small grain, but it packs a big punch. Very high in protein and is a complete protein.

      Hope you like it!

      Take care,

      Evelyn

  • http://www.lavenderuses.com Patricia

    Hi Evelyn

    I love grains….tasty and so healthy :-) Didn’t know amaranth. The others are readily available here locally. Have a healthy store near me so will ask about it. And of course I will now go Google it as like to learn new things. Especially about healthy eating.

    Thanks for the information and the recipes Evelyn. Appreciated.

    • http://evelynparham.com Evelyn Parham

      Hi Patricia,

      Yes, they are tasty and quite healthy. The flavors are so unique. I have tried quinoa and I really like it. It has a nutty flavor with a little texture.

      It is amazing how we can find so much information on Google. :)

      You’re welcome!

      Evelyn

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