In recent years many interesting seeds and grains have gained attention in the news with their health benefits. These range from boosting your weight-loss to keeping illness at bay. Is there truth to the hype? Here are five super grains and seeds that prove dynamite comes in small packages!
This is the smallest grain in the world, native to Ethiopia, and doesn’t undergo processing so it maintains its nutrient value. Packed with calcium, teff keeps your bones healthy. It also contains iron and protein, while being free of gluten, so it’s great for adding to delicious meals if you find it better for your health not to consume gluten. You can easily add teff to your daily meals, such as by cooking it with water so that it thickens. It can also be a satisfying substitute for wheat flour. It’s got a bit of a nutty taste, so it adds a nice touch to baked goods.
This plant food that originated from the Andean region offers a complete protein source. What this means is that it gives you all nine essential amino acids you need but that your body can’t produce on its own. Other than protein, quinoa also contains fibre, iron, Vitamin E, and oleic fatty acid which is a monounsaturated fat that’s good for your heart. This delicious grain is often used as a rice substitute that encourages healthy gut bacteria to lower inflammation, thus preventing disease. It is versatile in your eating plan because it also takes on the flavour of food with which you eat it.
Although you might think they’re beans because of their name, lupini beans are actually legume seeds. They’re common in the Mediterranean diet but the majority of them are grown in Australia. After soaking them, lupini beans can be eaten raw or ground into healthy flour. Lupini beans contain high amounts of fibre and protein, so they’re great to help you feel satisfied after a meal for longer, which will also keep your calorie intake under control. Research has also found that people who ate foods enriched with lupini beans had lower blood pressure.
You might think it’s a type of wheat, but Buckwheat is actually a seed like quinoa. It is high in protein and magnesium, an essential mineral in the body that you might not even realise you’re lacking. Magnesium manages hundreds of chemical reactions in your body, with some including the health of your heart and blood vessels. It’s also important for sustaining energy as well as enabling your body to relax after a stressful day. Buckwheat can easily be added to your meals: sprinkle it over soups or salads for a quick nutrient punch in your day!
The amaranth plant is native to Peru but now is grown all over the world, and it’s no mystery why if you consider how nutritious it is. The small amaranth grains are rich in fibre and protein rich with a whopping 82 percent of iron content! The grains are crunchy so they bring texture, not just nutrition, to your meals. You can cook amaranth to make porridge that’s great for a healthy breakfast, but you can also add the raw grains to a skillet so that they’ll heat up and pop – this is a healthy alternative to popcorn!
We often focus on the larger foods we eat, while not realising that tiny seeds and grains can actually contain lots of nutritional value. Add the above to your regular eating plan to achieve an extra boost of vitamins and health.
By Mark Kirkpatrick