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The 10 Healthiest Grains From the Ancient World

Written by andy

Ancient grains are definitely wonderful foods! Not only do they taste great when added to your favorite recipes–like this Thai Quinoa Salad or this delicious Chili Roasted Tofu–but these grains can provide some pretty amazing health benefits! Check out the list below to see what they can do, and you’ll see why they’re so awesome.

10 Amazing Ancient Grains and Their Health Benefits

  1. Quinoa — We’ve all heard of quinoa, but few of us know what it can do. Well, not only is it loaded with fiber, but it’s also a complete protein–meaning it will build muscle, boost your immunity, and speed up your metabolism all on its own. It’s loaded with calcium and potassium, and is one of healthiest foods on the planet.
  2. Bulgur –– Often used in place of couscous or rice, bulgur is a hard red or white wheat that is loaded with healthy fiber, manganese, iron, and niacin. It’s a chef-friendly grain that combines nicely with pretty much anything.
  3. Emmer –– Also known as farro, this wheat grain dates back to before Ancient Egypt. It’s got as much fiber as you’d expect from a grain, but it’s also rich in niacin, magnesium, and protein. It’s definitely a healthy grain that will be a wonderful replacement for refined wheat.
  4. Polenta –– This grain is a staple in Europe, particularly in the southern parts of the continent. It contains no gluten, and there is more protein in one serving of polenta than in a large egg. You get a good deal of Vitamins A and C from this grain, along with minerals like phosphorus, magnesium, and iron.
  5. Amaranth –– This lightweight grain is one of the oldest in the world, and it comes from South America. It is free of both gluten and wheat, and you’ll find that it contains large quantities of protein and amino acids that promote healthy brain development. You get plenty of Vitamin C, iron, calcium, and other important nutrients from this delicious grain.


  1. Spelt –– This grain dates back to the Middle Ages, and though it’s a member of the wheat family, it’s usually edible for those that have wheat intolerances. It’s got a good deal of protein and fiber, but it’s particularly rich in iron and zinc. It’s a great gluten-free alternative for making pancakes and waffles.
  2. Buckwheat –– The buckwheat plant is found in Eastern Europe, where is commonly eaten in place of wheat. It’s rich in Vitamin B6 and niacin, as well as minerals like magnesium, copper, zinc, and phosphorus. It is a complete protein, meaning it can build muscle without your needing to eat any other proteins on the side.
  3. Kamut –– This grain dates back to Ancient Egypt, and is up to three times as large as regular wheat. It has up to 40% more protein than wheat, as well as 65% more amino acids. It contains fatty acids as well, which can help to reduce cholesterol.
  4. Millet –– This ancient grain is very low in calories, but high in fiber and protein. It can help to protect against diabetes and even some forms of cancer, and is a cholesterol-free, sodium-free grain that is very good for you!
  5. Barley –– This grain is bulky and rich, and you’ll find that it is much denser than your average grain. It’s loaded with insoluble fiber, as well as B vitamins. It is a food to eat if you want to boost your metabolism, and is a fairly low-calorie grain as well!

About the author


Some people get lucky and are born with fit, toned bodies. Andy Peloquin is not one of those people... Fitness has come hard for him, and he's had to work for it. His trials have led him to becoming a martial artist, an NFPT-certified fitness trainer, and a man passionate about exercise, diet and healthy living. He loves to exercise--he does so six days a week--and loves to share his passion for fitness and health with others.

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