Harvard Health Letter

Try the hot trend in whole grains

Ancient grains have become the darlings of the culinary world, and they're healthy, too.

Image: marejuliasz/Thinkstock

In recent years, whole wheat has gotten all the glory when it comes to adding grains to your diet. But today's superstars are the staples used long before wheat took center stage. They're called ancient grains.

"Modern wheat, rice, and corn have been processed through hybridization or genetic modification. Ancient grains have not; they've been grown the same way for centuries," says Debbie Krivitsky, a registered dietitian at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.

Hot trend or hype?

Ancient grains made the list of the National Restaurant Association's "What's Hot in 2016" culinary forecast. But the trend isn't just about foodie flair. Sure, the grains sound exotic, with names like teff, einkorn, emmer, amaranth, millet, quinoa, black rice, black barley, and spelt—but ancient grains also pack a nutritional wallop.

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