Do you read a lot? Research satisfies my curious nature. I might be searching for better products to offer on my websites or learning more about a subject that interests me, but cross-referencing data on the web or a stack of books can keep me busy for hours or even days. My interests can include anything from divine proportion to the nutritional value of grains from ancient cultures. A few of you have written to ask about alternatives to gluten-containing grains, so of course, that prompted new research.
Teff leads all the grains by a wide margin in calcium content, with a cup of cooked teff offering 123mg, about the same amount of calcium as in a half-cup of cooked spinach. Teff is high in resistant starch, a newly-discovered type of dietary fiber that can benefit blood sugar management, weight control, and colon health. It’s estimated that 20-40% of the carbohydrates in teff are resistant starches. A gluten-free grain with a mild flavor, teff is a healthy and versatile ingredient for many gluten-free products. I buy teff from a few specialty health food stores in my area, but mostly I buy it online here.
One cup of teff.
Add the teff and 3 cups of water to a saucepan.
When the water starts to boil, turn down the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes.
Stir often while letting the teff rest until all the water is absorbed.
I stir it into my oatmeal. That updated recipe is here.
Many recipes are using teff here.
Amaranth contains more than three times the average amount of calcium and is also high in iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. It is also the only grain documented to contain Vitamin C. It’s a protein powerhouse. At about 13-14%, it easily trumps the protein content of most other grains. You may hear the protein in amaranth referred to as “complete” because it contains lysine, an amino acid missing, or negligible in many grains.
People with coeliac disease can safely eat many common plants, seeds, grains, cereals, and flour, including corn, polenta, potatoes, rice, and soya. However, they should avoid barley, wheat, rye, couscous, and semolina as they are some of the foods which contain gluten.
Adding some whole grain barley to a pot of soup will improve your health as well as the flavor of whatever soup or stew you’re cooking. I often add cooked unhulled barley to salads or cook it along with a pot of beans. In addition to its robust flavor, barley’s claim to nutritional fame is based on its being an excellent source of molybdenum, manganese, dietary fiber, and selenium, and a good source of copper, vitamin B1, chromium, phosphorus, magnesium, and niacin. Barley has high fiber for regularity, lower cholesterol, and intestinal protection. You can find barley in many grocery stores or at Bob’s Red Mill.
Buckwheat is a grain that is good for your cardiovascular system. Diets that contain buckwheat have been linked to a lowered risk of developing high cholesterol and high blood pressure. The beneficial effects are due in part to its rich supply of flavonoids, particularly rutin, which help to protect against heart disease. Buckwheat is also a good source of magnesium. This mineral relaxes blood vessels, improving blood flow and nutrient delivery while lowering blood pressure—the perfect combination for a healthy cardiovascular system.
The Whole Grains Council’s website provides more information on these and many other grains. According to the book “The Blue Zones of Happiness: Lessons from the World’s Happiest People” By Dan Buettner, the happiest, healthiest, most long-lived people on earth consume grains, greens, and beans daily. Read more about the Blue Zone Diet here.
The photos above are of the food I prepare for myself regularly. When I shop, I look for fresh organic vegetables and fruits in season. Shriveled skins or limp greens means produce has passed its prime. I will move to frozen organic fruits and vegetables in winter.