What are Ancient Grains and Are They Healthy?

bowl of quinoa salad

Ancient grains are grains that have been planted and harvested for thousands of years.  Some ancient grains are not grains, but actually grasses or seeds.

Some common ancient grains include:

  • Amaranth
  • Barley
  • Buckwheat
  • Kamut
  • Millet
  • Quinoa
  • Spelt
  • Teff 

Health benefits of ancient grains

Ancient grains in their “whole grain” form provide fibre, vitamins and minerals, and healthy fats. Research shows that people who eat more whole grains may have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and some cancers. Look for the words “whole grain” in the ingredient list (such as whole grain amaranth).

Some ancient grains have special health properties:

  • Barley contains soluble fibre that may lower cholesterol and blood glucose in healthy adults.
  • Quinoa contains all eight essential amino acids making it a complete protein.

Are ancient grains gluten-free? 

Amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat, millet and teff are gluten-free. Read labels to make sure these grains are pure and not contaminated with wheat, barley, rye or other gluten-containing ingredients.

Here are some recipes to try: 

Yummy Quinoa Lunch
Vegetable Quinoa Salad
Sweet Quinoa 
Quinoa and lentil pilaf

Last Update – May 15, 2018

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