START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x

What Are Heritage Grains — And How Can They Help Us?

What Are Heritage Grains — And How Can They Help Us?

 

Despite what the shelves in most American supermarkets will tell you, there are thousands of varieties of the unprocessed foods we eat. There are dozens of types of bananas, not just one. There are over 1,000 species of potatoes, not just a few handfuls. You may see a dozen or so species of apples at the store, but, in the United States, there used to be at least 10,000. And, likewise, there are many, many types of grains that you’ve almost certainly never heard of — though your ancestors sure did.

You can thank industrialization and corporate agriculture for that. Mass market grains — the vast majority consumed around the world — are patented, grown for their yield and hybridized to reduce the risk of diseases. This process, heritage grain advocates say, has also led to an erosion of their nutritional value.

Research is showing that some heritage wheat may actually be tolerable for people with gluten sensitivities. How so? Well, the structure of the gluten is different than modern wheats, and they’re easier to digest. Many researchers believe that people with gluten intolerance, but not full-blown Celiac’s are more intolerant to the wheat’s refinement, not necessarily the wheat itself. More research still needs to be done, however.

One of these grains, einkorn, is making its way onto supermarket shelves across the nation. First cultivated over 10,000 years ago in what is now the Middle East, einkorn has a rich, yet not overpowering flavor. Others have been on stores shelves for years, like quinoa, farro, and amaranth.

Despite the growing interest in alternative grains, and the raising tide against genetically modified food, many of these heritage grains are on the verge of extinction.

More:
A Surprisingly Simple Way to Make Better Food Choices
Are Juice Fasts Actually Healthy?
5 Crazy Fad Diets (Slideshow)

Read more: Basics, Colitis, Crohn's & IBS, Conditions, Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Eco-friendly tips, Environment, Family, Food, General Health, Green, Green Kitchen Tips, Health, Lawns & Gardens, Life, Nature, News & Issues, Vegan, Vegetarian

have you shared this story yet?

go ahead, give it a little love

Katie Waldeck

Katie is a freelance writer focused on pets, food and women’s issues. A Chicago native and longtime resident of the Pacific Northwest, Katie now lives in Oakland, California.

83 comments

+ add your own
2:00AM PDT on May 21, 2013

Thank you.

4:45PM PDT on May 10, 2013

thanks looking for heritage seeds all the time wanting Celintro right now

11:19AM PDT on May 7, 2013

good to know

3:21PM PDT on May 3, 2013

thanks

11:05AM PDT on May 1, 2013

Interesting.

5:13AM PDT on May 1, 2013

Nice!!

6:43AM PDT on Apr 30, 2013

Thanks for sharing.

7:30PM PDT on Apr 29, 2013

Thanks!

8:51AM PDT on Apr 29, 2013

Small wonder that we're so unhealthy.

3:46PM PDT on Apr 28, 2013

Thanks

add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

No. 1 or No. 2? - If in doubt sleep on it!

good to know in a pinch

Thanks. I pack lunch for my husband and me and they can get boring after a while.

Story idea? Want to blog? Contact the editors!



Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.