You might not have heard of them before. But each of these ancient grains is packed with nutrition and definitely worth a try. So read on and start experimenting!
Also called milo, sorghum is believed to have originated in Africa. It has a neutral, slightly sweet flavor. It can be eaten like popcorn, cooked into porridge, ground into flour for baked goods or turned into noodles.
It’s gluten-free and can be used as a direct substitute for wheat flour in a variety of baked recipes. It’s a source of iron and B vitamins. Plus, some studies suggest it may also have cholesterol-lowering properties.
The size of a poppy seed, teff is native to Ethiopia and grows where most crops won’t. It cooks quickly and is very versatile. It can be made into flour, porridge and pancake. If you’ve ever been to an Ethiopian restaurant and had a fermented bread called injera –you’ve eaten it! Teff can be cooked in other ways too and the lighter the grain colour, the milder the flavor is.
One cup of teff packs an impressive dose of calcium – 123mg, the highest of the grain sources. It’s also an excellent source of vitamin C and is gluten-free. It is also and high in resistant starch, which studies show helps support blood sugar management, weight control and bowel health.
Light and nutty with a crunchy centre, amaranth’s versatility sees it used in everything from cereals to breads, cakes and crackers. It’s a native crop in Peru and a diet staple in Mexico, where you’ll often find popped amaranth being sold on the streets like popcorn.
It’s a complete protein, as it contains the amino acid lysine, which is rare for a plant. Being ‘complete’ means it contains all the essential amino acids to make proteins in the body. It may also possess cholesterol-lowering effects.