From the kitchen to restaurants, grains and seeds are being incorporated into more and more healthy, balanced dishes. Let’s learn a bit more about their history and benefits from nutrition Expert Lindsay Chetelat.
Gaining popularity, ancient grains and seeds are making a comeback in a big way – from salads, soups, entrees, and even desserts.
Discovered thousands of years ago, grains and seeds were vital components of the food supply in many ancient cultures. Buckwheat and millet are native to Asia, while quinoa, amaranth, and chia seeds are from South America. Flax seed, bulgur, farro, and kamut primarily grew in Ancient Egypt and Arabia, the location of the Fertile Crescent.
Grains and seeds compose of extremely beneficial nutrients that can help decrease cholesterol and triglyceride levels, reduce inflammation, promote satiety, improve blood glucose control, and lower blood pressure. It is important for grains and seeds to become a mainstay in our diets because chronic diseases constitute a large portion of the health issues in our country,
Let’s get to know our grains and seeds a little better:
1. Variety is best.
What is the best grain or seed to choose? No need to choose, just include a variety of grains and seeds in the diet to get a wide array of nutrients!
2. Gluten-free options.
For those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, there are gluten-free options such as:
- Flax seed
- Chia seed
Quinoa and amaranth are especially important for vegans because they are complete protein sources that include lysine, which most plant-based protein sources lack. Buckwheat has also been noted to be rich in lysine. However, there is some evidence that protein from buckwheat is less bioavailable secondary to low digestibility.
4. Chia or flax?
Best known for containing alpha-linolenic Omega-3 fatty acids, Chia seeds and flax seeds are two popular and extremely nutrient-rich products. While chia seeds are generally more expensive, many people may prefer chia seed over flax seed because it has more alpha-linolenic acid. You can consume chia seeds in its whole seed form or ground.
To receive the full benefits, consume ground flax seeds within 24 hours of grinding. You can purchase ground flax seeds in mylar packaging that will preserve the product.
5. More bang for your buck.
Many may argue that it is more economical to purchase refined grains, such as white bread. In reality, a wide variety of dishes can incorporate these often affordable ancient grains… which can save you even more of that dough!
Adapted from the original article.
Lindsay Chetelat, RD, CDN is a NYC-based Registered Dietitian focusing on empowering individuals to take care of their bodies. Her approach is rooted in helping others gain an appreciation for their bodies through the food they take in, and creating a mindset that transformation is about the progress one is willing to make in their journey, not quick diet fixes. For more practical tips on maintaining our healthiest minds, visit and learn more about Lindsay.