In a world where fast food and processed snacks dominate the market, the humble ancient grains have been largely overlooked, though their remarkable benefits deserve to be acknowledged. Ancient grains such as quinoa, amaranth, spelt, millet and khorasan have been consumed by civilizations for centuries, providing many health benefits that modern grains cannot match. One of the most significant advantages of consuming ancient grains is their high nutritional value. These grains are rich in fibre, protein, vitamins, and minerals, making them a powerhouse of essential nutrients for maintaining good health. In addition, ancient grains are often gluten-free, making them a suitable option for those with gluten sensitivities or Celiac disease.

Another benefit of eating ancient grains is their ability to improve digestion and promote gut health. The fibre content in these grains helps regulate bowel movements and prevent constipation while feeding the beneficial bacteria in the gut. This can lead to a more robust immune system and a reduced risk of gastrointestinal issues. Consumption of ancient grains can potentially reduce the risk of chronic diseases and promote longevity in several ways:

  1. Nutrient-rich: Ancient grains are often more nutrient-dense than modern grains, containing higher levels of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fibre. These nutrients are crucial in reducing inflammation, supporting the immune system, and protecting against chronic diseases.
  2. Lower glycemic index: Ancient grains typically have a lower glycemic index than refined grains, which means they release sugar into the bloodstream more slowly. This can help stabilize blood sugar levels, reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, and improve overall metabolic health.
  3. High in fibre: Ancient grains are a good source of dietary fibre, which promotes digestive health, regulates cholesterol levels, and helps maintain a healthy weight. High-fibre diets have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, and certain types of cancer.
  4. Anti-inflammatory properties: Ancient grains contain bioactive compounds such as phenolic acids and flavonoids with anti-inflammatory effects. Chronic inflammation is a common underlying factor in many chronic diseases, so consuming foods that help reduce inflammation can lower the risk of conditions like heart disease, arthritis, and dementia.
  5. Rich in antioxidants: Ancient grains are rich in antioxidants, which help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Antioxidants have been linked to a lower risk of chronic diseases, including cancer, heart disease, and neurodegenerative disorders. Chronic inflammation is a critical factor in developing many chronic diseases, so incorporating anti-inflammatory foods like ancient grains can help promote overall health and well-being.

So, what are Ancient Grains, you ask? Ancient grains refer to a category of grains and cereals that have remained largely unchanged over the last several hundred to thousands of years. Unlike modern grains, which have undergone significant breeding and modification to improve characteristics like yield, size, and pest resistance, ancient grains are valued for their nutritional profiles and flavours and as a means to preserve biodiversity. They are often more nutritious, offering a richer source of vitamins, minerals, and fibre than many modern grains. Some popular ancient grains include:

1. **Quinoa**: Originally from South America, quinoa is high in protein and gluten-free. It is a complete protein because it contains all nine essential amino acids.

2. **Amaranth**: Also native to the Americas, amaranth is rich in protein, fibre, and essential minerals such as magnesium and iron. It is also gluten-free.

3. **Teff**: A tiny grain from Ethiopia, teff is rich in calcium, iron, and protein. It is a staple in Ethiopian cuisine and is commonly used to make injera, a type of flatbread.

4. **Spelt**: An ancient variety of wheat, spelt is rich in fibre and minerals. Though it contains gluten, some people sensitive to contemporary wheat varieties can tolerate spelt better.

5. **Farro (Emmer)**: Farro is a wheat widely eaten by ancient civilizations. It is high in fibre, protein, and nutrients like magnesium and iron.

6. **Kamut (Khorasan Wheat)**: Kamut is another ancient type of wheat known for its rich, nutty flavour. It is higher in protein and minerals than modern wheat and contains gluten.

7. **Millet**: Widely grown around the world, millet comes in many varieties and is highly versatile. It is gluten-free, high in fibre, and a good source of vitamins and minerals.

8. **Sorghum**: A versatile and drought-resistant grain that is a staple food in parts of Africa and Asia. It is gluten-free and rich in antioxidants. 

9. **Einkorn**: Considered the oldest wheat variety, einkorn is nutritionally dense, rich in protein, and has a higher content of certain minerals and antioxidants than modern wheat. It does contain gluten but is often more tolerable for those with sensitivities. 

10. **Barley**: Although commonly used today, barley is considered an ancient grain. It’s high in fibre, especially beta-glucan, which is known for its cholesterol-lowering properties. 

All of these grains can provide diverse and nutritionally rich diet options and are often used in a variety of dishes, including breads, salads, soups, and side dishes (including our Ancient Grains and Healthy Grains Cereals). Their cultivation also supports agricultural diversity and sustainable farming practices across Canada and worldwide.

Incorporating ancient grains into one’s diet can help improve overall health outcomes by providing a nutrient-dense, fibre-rich, antioxidant-packed source of carbohydrates that can support a healthy body and lower the risk of chronic diseases. Try some of our Rogers Foods Ancient Grain Cereals for a healthy and complete breakfast or in your favourite savoury recipe! 



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