What are ancient grains and why should we care? Check out this ancient grains bread recipe and this information on how to make truly healthy bread.
Eating healthy food that’s full of nutrition is an important wedge on the wellness wheel and an important part of your fitness journey. No matter where you are on your journey, you will be far healthier and live better if you have the proper nutrition to build your body. Ancient grains are one way you can enjoy better health.
Ancient grains bread
What is the purpose of going to all the trouble to find ancient grains? Our modern grain has been hybrid and altered so many times and ways that now it is harder for us to digest and assimilate nutrients. Changing the way God created food is a slippery slope. My wife, Christina is going to be writing today to talk to you about it.
An important thing to remember about modern wheat is that it’s full of glyphosates from all the spraying growers do. These chemicals are harmful to humans and animals and are used so much that they permeate most of our food supply. I feel like a lot of gluten intolerance is actually glyphosate contamination. I’ve seen a few studies on it, but we haven’t looked into it enough.
Whole grains are full of fiber and nutrients that are processed out of processed grains. They can be an important part of a healthy diet, lowering blood sugar and giving the heart-healthy nutrients it needs to stay strong. Most whole grains contain magnesium which many Americans are deficient in. Our diets are filled with processed foods that have nutrients processed out of and chemicals that leach out nutrients from the body.
There are two benefits to ancient grains. One, less contamination and finding organic grain is doable. And two, it’s grain the way God meant it, not changed into something else. So if you’re going to eat grain, cut back on wheat and gluten and eat a variety of grains instead, and go with the way your great-grandma grew up eating it.
Studies have linked ancient grain consumption to health benefits, such as lower heart disease risk, better blood sugar control, and improved digestion. They have remained fairly unchanged for thousands of years. Many cultures base their diets on them and are far healthier than the American culture.
Here are 12 ancient grains that are healthy for your diet.
- Rye is a popular ancient grain that is a member of the wheat family. However, compared to wheat, rye contains fewer carbs and more vitamins and minerals. It’s full of fiber, but it’s not gluten-free.
- Einkorn, also known as farro piccolo, is the world’s most primitive form of available wheat.
- Amarnath is a nutritious, gluten-free grain. It’s full of protein, fiber, manganese, magnesium, and iron. It’s linked to decreased heart disease and inflammation. It can be used in place of rice.
- Millet is a well-known ingredient in birdseed, but it’s super nutritious offering manganese, magnesium, and thiamin for a healthy body. Millet can lower inflammation. It’s also gluten-free. It’s great as a hot breakfast cereal or a substitute for rice.
- Spelt is a descendant of Emmer, and is known in Italy as Farro Grande. Although spelt is an ancient grain, it is also the least ancient of the three farro grains.
- Kamut is a nutrient-dense grain with lots of health benefits. It has selenium, zinc, and niacin. It’s also good for lowering bad cholesterol. It does contain gluten. It has a nutty, chewy texture and is good in summer salads, soups, and casseroles.
- Sorghum offers Manganese, magnesium, copper, and selenium. It’s a great source of polyphenol plant compounds (antioxidants). It can be ground into flour. It has a very mild flavor so it’s versatile and it’s gluten-free.
- Tuff is the smallest grain. It has a lot of iron, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, and zinc, as well as vitamin C, an unusual nutrient for grains. It is gluten-free and can be used as a cereal or in soups and baked goods.
- Freekah is made from green durum wheat. It’s full of carotenoids as well as iron and protein. It’s good for preventing degenerative eye disorders. It’s similar in texture to brown rice. It does contain gluten.
- Farro is a popular grain containing niacin, zinc, and magnesium. It can lower the risk of heart disease and cancer. It’s very high in protein and fiber which help you feel full. It does contain gluten. Emmer is the ancient ancestor of modern wheat. It’s known as farro medio, or commonly as farro, in Italy.
- Barley contains selenium, iron, and thiamine. It’s high in soluble fiber especially beta-glucans. It contains gluten. It can be made into stuffing or used like rice. It’s easy to get and inexpensive.
- Quinoa is gluten-free and has many health benefits. It contains nutrients such as manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, folate, and zinc. It has antioxidants as well. It’s widely available. It’s easy to use as well, and cooks much quicker than other grains.
- Bulgar contains manganese, magnesium, and copper. It’s great in salads such as tabbouleh and makes a substitute for rice. It is sold parboiled, or partially cooked for faster cooking. It does have gluten.
- Fonio is a type of millet that’s widely consumed in West African countries. Fonio provides magnesium, copper, and zinc. It contains resistant starch, which passes through your digestive tract without being broken down and feeds your healthy gut bacteria. These bacteria break down resistant starch into short-chain fatty acids which lower blood sugar and inflammation, among other benefits. Fonio is not widely available in the United States but can be purchased online. It can be ground to make delicious gluten-free flour for baking or cooked for a fluffy, couscous-like texture.
- Heirloom varieties of other common grains such as black barley, red and black rice, and blue corn might also be considered ancient grains.
Where to buy ancient grains
Ancient grains can be purchased in a number of places. Most grocery stores will have some of the common ones. You can get many grains on Bulkfoods.com or even Amazon. Many ancient grains are only sold in their whole form and not as flour, so you may have to begin grinding your own grains to make flour if you want different kinds. Ancientgrains.com has a good variety as well.
Ancient grain flour
I do grind a lot of my own flour in my nutrimill grinder (that’s an affiliate link, I earn a commission if you order from it) because flour loses a lot of nutrients once it’s ground very quickly. Always store your whole grain flour in the freezer to preserve nutrients. Sunrise flour mill is one of my favorite places to get ancient grain flour. They grind it right before they ship your order out.
Ancient Grains Bread Recipe
- 1 egg, room temperature
- enough water with egg to measure 1 cup, warm
- 2 T olive oil
- 3 T honey
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 3 C ancient grain flour of your choice
- 1 1/2 tsp quick rising yeast
- Place the ingredients in the order listed in your bread machine and set to dough setting.
- Once dough is complete, remove from machine and place in a greased bread pan.
- Cover with a damp towel and let rise until double, about an hour, depending on the temperature of the room.
- If you want to make it by hand, mix egg, water, oil, and honey in a bowl, mix flour, salt, and yeast together and slowly add to dry ingredients incorporating as you go. Once all ingredients are mixed, knead for about 10 minutes. Then place in a greased bread pan and cover with a damp towel until doubles in size.
- Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes.
And check out this delicious elderberry jam to spread on your bread!