Grains have gotten a bad rep in the last handful of years. Gluten and grain allergies and intolerances are at an all-time high, meaning that as more and more people eliminate these ingredients from their diets, a vast nutritional wellspring is being missed out on. Once upon a time, our ancestors relied heavily on the sustenance they could drive from a wide variety of grains that grew abundantly across our land. In fact, for many cultures, some kind of grain is the cornerstone of their native food story. The Italians - semolina flour derived from durum. Moroccans - couscous. Japanese - Koshihikari. Mexican - corn. Ethiopian - teff. You get the idea - grains matter in the food chapter of our human narrative!
The word "ancient" has been placed before grains in recent history as a big nutritional buzzword that you're bound to see in health food stores across cereal boxes, bread bags, and in various ingredient lists of all kinds - our Meal2Go included. Really though, all grains are "ancient" with the exception of the heavily processed pseudo-grain we known as the "wheat" topping ingredient lists these days. Grains, no matter their native heritage, are one of the oldest and most important sources of sustenance we have.
We've included five varieties of ancient grains in our Meal2Go because of their incredible benefits to our health. In their unprocessed, whole-food form, ancient grains are an invaluable source of vitamins and minerals, fiber for good digestive health, energy and sustenance, and blood-sugar regulation, etc. Here's a breakdown of the five gluten-free grains you'll find in Meal2Go and why you want them in your diet.
Amaranth delivers well over your daily recommended dose of manganese in just one serving, which is an ally in healthy brain function. It is also a great source of magnesium, which is essential in hundreds of reactions in the body. A daily dose of magnesium is proven to provide significant relief to dysmenorrhea - the condition of having severe menstrual cramps. It is also shown to have a preventative effect for migraine sufferers.
This one's for your heart health. It is consumed in abundance in Asian cultures, and research of these cultures report significantly lower levels of "bad" cholesterol and blood pressure. While it is commonly considered a grain, it is actually a seed that is high in protein and fiber.
We've come a long way from thinking of this seed - yes, another seed! - as only being good for a fast-growing plant pet. By weight, chia seeds are about 14% protein in a form your body can actually use thanks to their essential amino acid content. They are also loaded with antioxidants, which are important in fighting cancer-causing free-radicals.
This grain is loaded with copper. We don't often hear much talk about the benefits of this mineral, but it plays a major role in the production of our red blood cells because it delivers iron to our bone marrow. It is another great source of magnesium, which along with the aforementioned benefits, has been linked to Type 2 Diabetes prevention.
Quinoa is one of the only plant foods that contain all nine essential amino acids. Amino acids as we know, are the building blocks of protein. It is one of the healthiest foods you could consume, containing a long list of vitamins and minerals, macronutrients, and phytonutrients. Including quinoa in your diet stands to benefit your overall picture of health from your cardiovascular and digestive, to your neurological wellbeing.
Don't let all of the bad press around grains scare you. They are an absolute asset to anyone's picture health and wellness, as long as you know which ones work for you and what they actually are, not what you assume they are based on their label of "grain". Get to know your grains - they're kind of a big deal!