Gold Medal Grains: Your guide to the 10 latest superfoods

The last 18 months has seen an explosion of different grains becoming available, all claiming to be the latest and greatest of the superfoods. Each offers a host of different health and fitness benefits, so we thought you might find a quick read guide to the new grains helpful.

Supergrains that are Superfoods

1: Spelt

Why eat it

Spelt is a form of wheat, but even those with a wheat intolerance can often eat it without issues. It’s tummy kind credentials aren’t the only thing it has going for it however. It’s higher in protein, copper, iron, manganese, potassium and B vitamins than regular wheat.

Eat instead of

Get your bake on and try spelt bread. Unlike a lot of traditional wheat free breads, this tastes and behaves a look like normal bread. You could also try swapping your normal pasta for spelt pasta.

 

2: Millet

Why eat it

Millet is best known as a main ingredient in bird seed (don’t let that put you off, we used to feed kale to cows remember?). But it offers a host of benefits that’ll have you swiping your budgie’s brekkie before you know it. Millet is low GI, so it gives you a steady, lasting release of energy rather than the spike and crash caused by refined wheat flour. In addition is has a much richer mineral profile than wheat flour, meaning you get more goodness per bite, something we look for in all superfoods.

Eat instead of

Millet works really well as an alternative to couscous, which whilst it is often positioned as the healthy option is in fact just a standard processed wheat product much like pasta.

 

3: Teff

Why eat it

If you have a problem eating gluten or dairy, teff is the nutritional lifeline you’ve been looking for. It’s calcium rich and gluten free, making it an excellent addition to the diet of all those intolerant of wheat and milk products. Teff is also a good source of iron, manganese and thiamin. Another real winner on the nutrient front is vitamin C, which isn’t typically found in grains.

Eat instead of

Get some teff flour and use it just like wheat flour in things like fritters, flatbreads and pancakes. The Teff Company have some really delicious and healthy recipes to try on their website.

 

4: Faro

Why eat it

As with spelt, faro contains gluten but is more readily tolerated by those with intolerances the wheat. It packs a massive protein punch with seven whole grams per serving and is a great source of fibre. It’s not just healthy, it heals too. Faro is unique among grain superfoods in being rich in antioxidants that can reduce inflammation.

Eat instead of

Faro’s texture is a bit like rice and it has a lovely nutty flavour, making it ideal for adding to salads where you’d use couscous or bulgar wheat. You can also use it instead of rice, up to and including risotto!

 

5: Quinoa

Why eat it

Quinoa is one of the better known superfoods, a gluten free grain containing 13g of protein per 100g and all 9 amino acids. You can also use quinoa to top up your magnesium and manganese levels, as well as a decent dose of fibre, as with all our gold star grains.

Eat instead of

Anywhere you’d use couscous, you can use quinoa. You can also substitute it for rice in pilaffs and salads.

 

6: Freekah/Freekeh

Why eat it

Freekeh is young green wheat that has been roasted and cracked. This gives it a texture similar to faro or brown rice and a taste that is distinctively nutty and moreish. It has three times the levels of fibre and protein typically found in brown rice and loads of iron, so it makes a no brainer substitute.

Eat instead of

Pretty much any carb. You can use it as a bed for roasted veg or meat, put it in soups, salads and serve with or in stews. It’s one of the most robust and versatile superfoods.

 

7: Amaranth

Why eat it

Technically a seed not a grain, allow yourself a generous serving of amaranth and you’ve pretty much taken care of your recommended daily intake of iron. Combine that with the complete range of amino acids offered by its protein components and you have a super grain. As if that wasn’t enough, it also has vitamin C, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.

Eat instead of

Swap your sugar laden breakfast cereal for a bowl of amaranth in the morning to start your day off the right way. And if that feels just too weird, you can throw a handful into soups and stews for a simple nutrient boost.

 

8: Chia

Why eat it

Ok, so technically this is a seed not a grain too, but who cares? Chia is one of the few sources of omega-3 fatty acids not derived from animals, 8 times that of wild salmon, and that alone earns it a place on our superfoods list. When you add in the fibre, the protein, the vitamins (B, D & E), the iron, boron, niacin, magnesium and calcium (5 times more than semi skimmed milk, in case you were wondering).

Eat instead of

Chia doesn’t really work as an instead of, it’s more of an “as well as” ingredient. Add to baking, cereals, or smoothies for an instant nutritional hit.

 

9: Buckwheat

Why eat it

Buckwheat has nothing to do with wheat, in spite of the name. It’s actually a gluten free seed from a plant related to rhubarb (go figure!). It’s a complete protein, rich in fibre, zinc, copper and manganese.

Eat instead of

Ditch those breakfast cereals and make room for buckwheat. It’s very versatile; add it to porridge, make it into granola, use the flour for pancakes and in bread. It’s a week’s worth of good mornings in one grain.

 

10: Sorghum

Why eat it

Popular in India and Africa, sorghum is actually the world’s 5th most popular grain. But who remembers the one that came 5th right? Still, sorghum is coming out from the shadows as a gluten free grain whose anti-oxidant profile makes it a better source of these anti-ageing miracle workers that better known superfoods like goji berries or pomegranates.

Eat instead of

Swap couscous and rice for sorghum, add it to your morning porridge or if you’re feeling really adventurous, try it popped in place of the Butterkist (you know that’s doing nothing for your nutrition after all!)

 

Try one, try them all, our supergrains will have you whizzing through your exercise class or gym session feeling better than ever before.

 

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