Quinoa, amaranth, freekeh – huh? While pronunciation is tricky, chances are you’ve seen these wonder grains getting attention around the web and in the store. And for good reason. Ancient grains are the new superfoods. Okay, they are ancient grains, so maybe they’re not new, but they are making a resurgence.
Five of our Favorite Super Grains
Known for their stellar nutrient profile, we’ve highlighted five grains that are difficult to pronounce, but good for you.
How to pronounce amaranth: am-a-ranth
What is it and how do I eat it? Amaranth was first cultivated in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula by the Aztecs more than 8,000 years ago. Although too dense to eat on its own, you can use it as a thickener in sauces or soups or it can also be combined with lighter grains, like rice, to add texture and flavor to any dish.
- Rich in calcium, iron, phosphorous and carotenoids
- Only grain with documented vitamin C content
- 105% daily value per serving of manganese
- 28.1 grams of protein in one cup
- 18 grams of fiber in one cup
- Great source of lysine
- Gluten free
How to pronounce farro: fahr-ro
What is it and how do I eat it? Eat farro (also known as emmer) to get in touch with your inner ancient Roman. Today, it is most often used to make semolina flour, but it can also be added to soups, salads and even some desserts. The texture is chewy and the taste mild, making it easy to add to most any recipe.
- High concentration of phenolic compounds linked to disease prevention
- Good source of iron, magnesium and zinc
- High in vitamins B3 and B2
- 7-8 grams of fiber in ½ cup
- More protein than quinoa
How to pronounce freekeh: free-kah
What is it and how do I eat it? Simply put, freekeh is wheat. Young wheat that is harvested while it is still green, actually. It’s been a staple of Middle Eastern diets for centuries but is only just now making its rotation into the West. Cook it to add to your salads or sub it for steel cut oats at breakfast. Here’s an idea: instead of overnight oats, try overnight freekeh to give yourself a much needed morning boost.
- 25 milligrams of calcium per serving
- 6 grams of protein per serving
- Rich in prebiotic properties
- 4X the fiber of brown rice
- A good source of lutein
How to pronounce kamut: kah-moot
What is it and how do I eat it? Kamut® is the trademarked name for khorasan wheat. Rumored to be the grain Noah brought on the ark with him, it has a rich and buttery flavor, perfect for cold salads, casseroles or soup. And because it’s easily digestible, Kamut® is the ideal power food for athletes of all kinds.
- Excellent source of fiber, zinc, phosphorous, magnesium, vitamins B1 and B3
- Known for its phenolic (antioxidant) properties
- Helps to naturally balance hormones
- 11 grams of protein per serving
- High in carotenoids
How to pronounce quinoa: keen-wah
What is it and how do I eat it? Okay, you got us. Quinoa’s not a grain. It’s a seed. You’ve probably already eaten it – maybe you’re eating it while you read this. But on the off chance you haven’t, quinoa is an Andean crop grown in Peru, Bolivia and Chile. It is incredibly diverse and can be added to most any dish, including salads, soups, as a side dish – you can even add it to pizza for a healthy twist!
- An excellent source of magnesium, manganese, phosphorous and folate
- Considered a complete protein – offer all essential amino acids
- Rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids
- 25% more protein than refined grains
- High fiber content
- Gluten free
Fiber-rich, Heart-healthy, and Good for You
While these ancient grains might be tongue twisters, they’re also palate pleasers and, perhaps more importantly, good for a heart-healthy diet. If you’re interested in nutrition and heart health, check out these articles:
- Eating More Fiber for Heart Health
- Low-salt Diet Education (and Recipe!)
- Nutrient Deficiency and High Blood Pressure
Share the Love, Spread the Word
Now that you know how to pronounce amaranth, farro, freekeh, Kamut® and quinoa, it’s time to spread the word. Share this post with your friends on Facebook or give us a tweet (@LFIsocial) and tell us your favorite ancient grain recipes.