(BlackDoctor.org) — When you’re shopping or getting ready to cook dinner for you and your family, are you tired of cooking the same old grains to accompany your meal? Do those run-of-the-mill breakfast cereals just feel too blasé? Does bread seem too much like more of the same old thing?
Since Americans have become more conscious of the importance and nutritional value of whole grains, many people have realized that, even though they have switched from white rice to brown rice (a no-brainer for most people, nowadays), there’s more to grains than brown rice, oat bran, and oatmeal.
Here’s a sampling of the nutritional value of some lesser known grains that are gaining popularity among people interested in health and nutrition…and a little more grain variety:
Amaranth is sometimes classified as a grain but is actually a “pseudo-grain” since it has also at times been classified as both a vegetable and an herb. Amaranth is an ancient grain revered by the Aztecs. It is extremely high in the amino acid lysine, and it is also very high in protein. In fact, only 150 grams of amaranth provides 100% of the daily requirement for protein. This tiny grain has a very high fiber content that outstrips most other grains, and it is packed with many other minerals and vitamins.
Amaranth contains no gluten, so it is especially good for those on a gluten-free diet. While it cannot be used to make bread on its own, 100% amaranth can be used to make baked goods that do not require rising, such as biscuits and pancakes.
If you’re shopping for amaranth products, look in health food stores or the health food section of your supermarket for hot and cold cereals, pastas, breads, cookies, as well as raw amaranth for cooking from scratch.
Pronounced “keen-wah”, this “grain” (Quinoa is actually a cousin of leafy green vegetables) has a nutty flavor that many people find very palatable. Known as the “mother grain” by the Incas, Quinoa has been grown and eaten in South America for thousands of years. Quinoa is gluten-free, very high in protein, and can be substituted for rice in most any recipe. In fact, quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein, a characteristic that other grains and pseudo-grains simply cannot match.
Since it is very high in magnesium, quinoa is thought to be helpful for people who suffer from migraines, since the increased intake of magnesium has been shown to decrease the frequency of migraines. Quinoa is also high in manganese, iron and phosphorus.
Quinoa is sold in health food stores and food co-ops in both regular packaging and bulk aisles, and can also be found in some cereals, pastas and other prepared foods.
This grain is an ancient cousin of durum wheat and was cultivated in what is known as the “Fertile Crescent” for thousands of years. It is higher in minerals like magnesium and zinc than other forms of wheat, and is also higher in vitamin E, selenium, and essential fatty acids. Although it is a form of wheat, many gluten-sensitive individuals find that they can tolerate kamut without side effects of any kind.
Kamut is used as the main ingredient in many healthy hot and cold cereals, as well as pastas, cookies, and other products,