Not everything ancient is out of style—and ancient grains are here to prove the point. Ancient grains aren’t yet formally defined; but they are understood as grains that have remained intact through the years. That is, plants that have been cultivated for centuries in the same way, and that haven’t been modified or crossbred. Thanks to their qualities as superfoods, and given their nutritional value, ancient grains have managed to become commonplace foods found in supermarkets, as they are now the go-to choice of more and more people. While the term superfood could mean many different things, ancient grains are recognized as such for their versatility and the value they offer from a nutritional standpoint. Although ancient, these five qualities of these grains have managed to keep them from going out of fashion.
- Gluten-Free: Most ancient grains are gluten free. For people with celiac disease, or anyone trying to stay away from gluten, many ancient grains are a safe choice. Quinoa, a rather popular ancient grain—even though it is really a seed—is known for being a gluten-free alternative to wheat. Other gluten-free ancient grains are teff, amaranth, millet and sorghum (U.S. News).
- High Plant-Based Protein: Grains like quinoa and flaxseed offer high contents of high-quality plant-based protein. While protein coming from meat, or milk, might be more commonplace, for those who stay away from meat and animal products, plant-based protein is a great nutritional option. More so, not only do these ancient grains represent a healthy alternative to animal protein, they provide a good amount of it, too. A cup of quinoa packs eight grams of protein. Powerful Overnight Oats, focusing on the high-protein nutrition required to support active lifestyles, take advantage of the protein boost that both quinoa and flaxseeds have to offer.
- High in Fiber: Different studies have shown diets rich in fiber offer several health benefits. Among them, according to Healthline, are weight loss, increased satiety, reduced blood sugar levels and lower cholesterol levels. Some of the most commonplace ancient grains rich in fiber are quinoa, amaranth, spelt and farro.
- Help Curb Hunger and Keep Anxious Eating Away: Given the high-protein and high-fiber qualities of most ancient grains, these help you feel satiated and satisfied. As a result, they can prevent binge eating and anxious intake of empty calories. Moreover, protein intake increases metabolic functions while reducing appetite (Healthline). What’s more, fiber is responsible for satiety, thereby decreasing caloric intake.
- Healthy Alternative to Wheat: For those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, some of these ancient grains are an alternative to keep their diet clean and healthy. More so, ancient grains—unmodified and natural—seem like a healthier choice even for those who do not suffer from gluten intolerance. Given the several modifications wheat has suffered in modern times, it is becoming harder to consider it a natural ingredient. In this sense, Livestrong explains that, given the modifications it has endured, modern wheat contains more starch which translate into a higher glycemic index that reflects in higher blood sugar levels.