What’s Old Is New Again: Ancient Grains

If you have yet to jump on the whole grains bandwagon, it may be time to consider taking the leap. Whole grains like oats and wheat can help raise the level “good” HDL cholesterol and lower the level of “bad” LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure. In fact, one study showed that people who ate whole grains on a daily basis had a significantly lower risk of death, lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, and a lower risk of dying from cancer.

When it comes to choosing your whole grains, modern whole grains like oats, rice, and wheat always beat their refined (or stripped) versions. Ancient grains, such as teff, freekeh, millet, quinoa, and spelt, take things up a nutritional notch. Generally defined as grains that are largely unchanged over the last several hundred years (aka, no processing), ancient grains tend to offer more protein, fiber, and vitamins than modern grains. You don’t have to switch to ancient grains completely, but you may want to mix them into your diet. When you’re buying products that contain whole grains, always make sure the grain is one of the first ingredients listed, and that the product doesn’t contain a lot of added sugar.