A diet rich in whole grains may be just the prescription for lower cholesterol, better BMI, lower cancer risk, and a more regular digestive system. But while whole wheat may be the most common, lesser known options are showing off their potentially higher amounts of fiber and nutrients. Get the lowdown on these old–world varieties that pack a nutrition punch:
- Quinoa (pronounced keen–wa): With a light, nutty flavor, this round grain has been cooked up in South America for centuries. The fluffy texture makes it a perfect stand–in for rice, noodles, or couscous in Asian or Mediterranean dishes, and it counts as a complete protein (contains all 9 essential amino acids). Check out the pasta and rice aisles for boxed varieties.
- Buckwheat: Strong in flavor, this crop can be combined with other grains. Like quinoa, buckwheat is gluten free, which means it’s perfect for those with wheat intolerance. Try using buckwheat to make porridge or as flour in muffins or pancakes.
- Amaranth: Often found in multigrain breads, this earthy grain preserves some crunch even after cooking. Best if used in soups as a thickening agent or as a rice substitute in dishes like risotto.