You might have noticed more “ancient grains” touted on cereal boxes and other packaged groceries of late, with Cheerios, pretzels and even chips now boasting ingredients like kamut, spelt and amaranth.
And it’s not surprising that marketers are trying to boost sales with these nutritionally dense supergrains that have been cultivated for thousands of years.
But don’t be fooled by the front of the package. Flip to the back and you’ll see these snacks can be full of added sugars, artificial preservatives and more. Instead, get to know these grains in their most natural state.
Take amaranth, for example.
Long before it showed up in chips, it was a staple ingredient in Aztec food some 8,000 years ago. Besides fueling one of the most advanced early societies, it was also used in religious ceremonies until Spanish conquistadors banned it in an attempt to convert them to Christianity. But this forbidden food, which from a botanical perspective is a weed, was impossible to eliminate. The seeds eventually spread around the globe to places like Africa, India and China.
Today, amaranth is worshipped for its amazing health benefits. It’s the only grain documented to contain vitamin C and is also a great source of calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium.
This gluten-free diet darling is also rich in protein (with almost 20 percent) and antioxidant properties that can help prevent heart disease and manage diabetes.
To enjoy the full benefits, you can make your own ancient grains in less than 30 minutes. Try this amaranth banana porridge recipe and see if it does your body good.