Marni Wasserman, writing for Chatelaine, explains, “These ‘superfood’ seeds are known to be extremely high in protein, fibre and are low-glycaemic carbohydrates. They are also bursting with vitamins and minerals like calcium, iron and magnesium. They are all gluten-free and easy to digest, absorb and assimilate. These are some pseudo grains you could add to your diet. As you will see these grain-like seeds are extremely versatile, offering an array of diverse nutrition. Many of them may be new to your pantry, but I encourage you to give one or all of them a try!”
Amaranth: The seed of a plant from Central America. It has a nutty flavour and combines well with other grains. Health benefits: Higher in protein than many other grains, it’s also high in the essential amino acid lysine, often hard to find in plant-based foods. Amaranth is a good source of calcium and iron, important for bone health as well as being high in potassium, phosphorous and Vitamins A, E and C. Finally, it’s also filled with essential oils that help lower hypertension, cholesterol and blood pressure.
Buckwheat: A fruit seed related to rhubarb and sorrel, buckwheat is a suitable grain substitute for people who are sensitive to wheat or other grains that contain protein glutens. Health benefits: Rich in flavonoids and phytonutrients, both of which protect against disease by extending the action of vitamin C, while acting as antioxidants. Buckwheat is a great source of protein, manganese and vitamins B and E and helps to balance and lower cholesterol levels while also protecting against heart disease. Buckwheat is also claimed to have mood-enhancing and mental clarity properties.
Quinoa: an amino acid-rich (protein) seed that has a fluffy, creamy, slightly crunchy texture and a somewhat nutty flavor when cooked. Most commonly considered a grain, quinoa is actually a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard. Health benefits: It is a complete protein, providing all essential amino acids. It’s also high in fibre, calcium and iron.
Teff: While still growing in the fields, teff appears purple, grey, red or yellowish-brown. Seeds range from dark-reddish-brown to yellowish-brown to ivory. Health benefits: Teff leads all the grains—by a wide margin—in its calcium content, with a cup of cooked teff offering 123 mg. It’s an excellent source of vitamin C, a nutrient not commonly found in grains. Teff is also high in resistant starch, a type of dietary fibre that can benefit blood-sugar management, weight control and colon health.
Wild rice: Wild rice is really an aquatic seed found mostly in the freshwater lakes of Canada, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Cooked wild rice has a rich, nutty flavor, sometimes described as a smoky flavor, and a texture that is satisfyingly chewy. It can be as long as one-inch and the colours can vary from medium-brown to nearly pure black. Health benefits: It is a source of lysine (an essential protein) and B vitamins, has almost twice the protein content of venerable brown rice and almost six times the amount of folic acid as brown rice.
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