In a world where grain has been demonized, are ancient grains healthy? The fact is that our bodies need all kinds of nutrients to thrive and ancient grains contain many of them. But what are they and are they healthy for us?

Ancient grain bread sliced on a board

Christina, Kent’s wife here, talking about the wonderful qualities of ancient grains and how we can use them.

Ancient grains are growing in popularity as people desire to eat healthier and everyone is getting more food sensitivities. Why is this? Because our world is increasingly unhealthy for our bodies and our bodies are trying to fight back.

Whole grains are grains with the bran and germ left intact so the grain still contains the nutrients that God intended them to have. We mess around with creation too much and we are unhealthier for it. Ancient grains have remained mostly unchanged by processing, hybridization, heavy use of glyphosate, or modification for thousands of years. I say, if it wasn’t broke, we shouldn’t have fixed it!

Studies have shown that ancient grain consumption has health benefits such as lower heart disease, better blood sugar control, and improved digestion.

What are the ancient grains?

What are ancient grains anyway? Click on the link above to find out all about what ancient grains really are.

Ancient grains rice

There are a few kinds of rice that are considered ancient grains:

  • Red rice
  • Black rice
  • Wild rice
  • Montina

Ancient wheat varieties

There are several ancient wheat varieties which do contain gluten of course, because they are wheat:

  • Kamut has a chewy, nutty texture with grains two to three times the size of modern wheat.
  • Freekah has an earthy, nutty taste, with a chewy texture like that of brown rice.
  • Bulgar is cracked wheat like what you find in tabbouleh.
  • Rye is lower in carbs and higher in vitamins and minerals than other wheat.
  • Einkorn is the oldest wheat known.

Does farro have gluten

Farro has a different gluten structure than common wheat, which may make it more tolerable for those with a gluten intolerance. But it does contain gluten.

Some ancient grains that do not contain gluten include:

  • Buckwheat
  • Corn
  • Job’s Tears
  • Millet
  • Oats (that are processed in a gluten free environment)
  • Quinoa
  • Sorghum
  • Teff
  • And of course, the different types of rice
ancient grains healthy in bowls on a table

Kamut benefits

Kamut may be especially beneficial for reducing blood sugar levels and heart disease risk factors like LDL (bad) cholesterol.

A study found that a kamut-based diet suppressed hormones that promote inflammation and reduced total cholesterol by 4% and bad cholesterol (LDL) by 8% as well as blood sugar by 4% compared to a semi-whole-grain diet.

Grains with protein

Quinoa’s known for its high protein content, and with good reason. Quinoa is a seed technically and not a grain. It contains 8 grams of protein per cup. It’s a completer protein providing all 9 essential amino acids your body needs. But there are more high protein grains:

  • Spelt
  • Kamut
  • Teff
  • Amaranth
  • Wild rice
  • Millet
  • Couscous
  • Oats
  • Buckwheat

There are so many more wonderful benefits to ancient grains and whole grains for your diet including:

  • Fiber to help lower blood sugar levels, as well as low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels.
  • Reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
  • Phytonutrients and antioxidants that fight inflammation, in turn helping to prevent chronic diseases and cancer.
  • More vitamins and minerals than refined grains. 
  • They are more filling and satisfying due to the intact bran and germ.  This means you’ll be less hungry and as a result, may eat less over the course of the day, which can lead to weight loss.
  • Better health means lower health care costs (so when you’re looking at the price, also consider the price of doctors visits and medications).
different ancient grains in small bowls on a plate sitting on a tray with more bowls of ancient grains and a blue towel laying beside it.

Ancient grains recipes

You might be wondering how you can incorporate all of these wonderfully healthy ancient grains into your diet. Click on the highlighted link above for tons of great ancient grains recipes that will satisfy you and fill you up while they nourish you. And you can even learn How to Make your Own Flour. And you’ll reap the many health benefits of wheat berries.