First things first, welcome back. We decided to put some information together regarding grains, understanding them and their nutrition benefits.
There are many, many different grains in the world, in some places they have different names to what you know them as, they have many beneficial nutritional value and most are gluten free.
Grains that are commonly referred to as “cereals” or “cereal grains” are the edible seeds or specific grasses belonging to the Poaceae family, also known as Gramineae.
There are a number of different types of grains found within the true cereal grain from the botanical family “Poaceae” including wheat, oats, rice, corn, barley, Sorghum, rye and millet within these groups are also other varieties like Farro, Freekah, Emmer and spelt which are all types of wheat.
The “Pseudo-cereal” group are not part of the Poaceae family in which these grains belong. But they are nutritionally similar. Many of these such as Amaranth, buckwheat and quinoa are not grains they are seeds from a number of plant species, therefore they are not true grains they are considered Pseudo cereals.
Pseduo cereals are commonly used in niche breads, flatbreads, crispbreads, pasta, breakfast cereal and snack bars, they are also used as alternatives to rice, pasta, and cous cous.
So how many grains are there and why are they so good for us?
Quinoa is a small round grain that has a slightly bitter flavour and a firm texture when cooked. Quinoa was discovered by the Incas and was first grown thousands of years ago, today the most common varieties are white, red and black, quinoa has a high oil content to its important its packed In a air tight container. The benefits of quinoa include
- Very nutritional
- Contains plant compounds Quercetin and kaempferol
- Very high in fiber, higher than most grains
- Gluten free & non-allergenic
- High in protein with important amino acids
- Has a low glycemic index which is good for managing blood sugar.
- Very high in anti oxidants
Originating from Asia buckwheat isn’t a grain even though its commenly listed as one its actually a fruit seed related to rhubarb and sorrel, it has a unique triangle shape, buckwheat is one of the most healthiest whole ” grains” benefits of buckwheat are
- Improved heart health
- Reduced blood sugar
- Gluten free and non-allergenic
- Rich in dietary fibre
Eragrostic tef, also know as Teff, Williams love grass or annual bunch grass is a annul grass species native to Africa. Teff is a tiny grain similar to poppy seeds, teff comes in a variety of colours, white, red & dark brown, teff can grown in harsh conditions from waterlogged plains to dought conditions, the benefits of teff include
- Gluten free and non-allergenic
- Protein rich – a half cup of teff contains about 13g of protein
- Offers other minerals like calcium, iron, potassium and zinc
Freekah (free-kah) or Farik is a cereal grain food made from green durum wheat that is roasted and rubbed to create its flavour, it is an ancient dish derived from Levantine and North African dishes, remaking popular in many countries, it is considered the new ” supergrain” the benefits of Freekah include
- High in protein and fibre
- Low in fat
- Helps people feel fuller for longer (no snacking in between meals)
- Considered a supergrain
- Great choice for people managing diabetes or people trying to maintain a steady blood sugar
- Although super it is not gluten free
We could carry on all day, but the fact of the matter is grains like these are important in a healthier diet and for people who need to manage their diets
Adding a half bowl of freekah or quinoa to your diet once or twice a week can have some great health improvements.
We hope you found this useful and as always thanks for reading. In the coming weeks we will have some great street food ideas and bbq weather favourites with a twist..
The hungry chef