Ancient Grains are New Again:
If you’re tired of quinoa, here’s some good news: ancient grains sorghum and teff are making their way onto shelves in all sorts of products. Both grains are gluten free and non-GMO, and can be prepared as whole grains or ground into flour. Sorghum is a large, heartier grain with a harder outside and soft inside, similar to israeli couscous. Mix the whole grain into salads, a lunch bowl, pop it like popcorn or to add a little crunch to your veggies. Teff is one of the smallest grains, being about 1/150th the size of a grain of wheat and can add a nutty, grainy flavor to your meal. Try making teff burgers or mix it into stews or polenta.
Why we like this trend:
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that all Americans make half or more of the grains they eat whole grains, but did you know that a product can be called “whole grain” if it’s made with only 50 percent whole grains? Also during the production of some products, grains are broken down into the three parts of a whole grain (endosperm, germ, and bran) and reconstituted, but all of that processing can strip out valuable nutrients. If you eat unprocessed whole grains there’s no question you’re getting excellent nutrition. Not only does the dietary fiber found in whole grains fill you up, but it can also improve blood cholesterol levels and lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity and type 2 diabetes. One recent study found that switching to whole grains reduced calorie intake and increased metabolism, a net change that was the equivalent of a daily 30 minute walk!
Still not convinced? Sure, sorghum contain high levels of unsaturated fats, protein, fiber, and minerals phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and iron, but more impressively it has even more antioxidants than superfoods blueberries and pomegranates. Components in sorghum have also been linked to reducing the risk of skin and colon cancer, increasing cardiovascular health, and may help with weight loss.
Like quinoa, teff contains all eight essential amino acids and is high in fiber. Need more calcium in your diet? Teff is the highest calcium containing grain, giving about as much of the mineral as half a cup of spinach. The resistant starches found in teff also can lower blood sugar and aid in weight control. With all these amazing benefits, it’s time to whip up a pot of each and add these rediscovered grains into your diet!
Two of last years trends are still gaining momentum! Even more products are coming out featuring probiotics (chips and popcorn, anyone?). And with 50% of foods produced going to waste, it’s still trendy to find ways to cook parts of foods that usually get chucked in the trash and using nutritious but not-as-pretty ugly vegetables.