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Foods that Heal, Part Two

Packed with goodness, full of energy and about as healthy as it gets, supergrains are more than just a flash in the food pan. Known as smart carbs by nutritionists and food experts the world over, they offer the same satisfying feeling as a bowl of rice or pasta but without the hard-to-digest and sluggish after-effects.

So why the sudden buzz? Yes, it helps that the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Aniston swear by their body-boosting powers, not to mention the fact that celebrity chefs such as Yotam Ottolenghi champion their use in everyday recipes. But it’s the sustainable nature of supergrains that has cultivated their now-fashionable and eco-friendly reputation. Here’s our guide to the hottest around…

Amaranth – the fitness supergrain

**What: **Amaranth is a gluten-free grain that looks like couscous. It can be bought as seeds, ground into flour or added to a cereal. Its origins are in Central America.

**Why they’re super: **Amaranth is brilliant if you work out regularly as it is high in bone- strengthening calcium and muscle-building protein. Amaranth also contains the amino acid lysine, which is great for muscle growth and repair.

How to use: Simmer in water or skimmed milk for 20-25 minutes to make a porridge-like hot cereal.

Buckwheat – the weight loss supergrain

This is another seed, usually ground up into groats, a bit like small porridge oats, and is an ingredient in gluten-free breakfast cereals, cake and biscuits.

**Why it’s super: **Buckwheat is high in protein and fibre. It also contains two disease-fighting polyphenols: rutin and quercetin. But the star ingredient is D-chiro-inositol, which helps to stabilise blood sugar.

**How to use it: **Use the flour to make breads and muffins.

Chia – the brain boosting supergrain

Originating in Mexico, chia is a seed, not a grain, so it’s gluten-free. This means carbs without the bloat. And it’s a powerhouse of nutrition.

Why it’s super: It’s high in omega-3 fats, which support brain function and hormone balance, and moisturise the skin. Chia is also high in fibre: eating chia daily can reduce blood pressure.

How to use it: Stir a tablespoon of seeds into a smoothie, or add to homemade breads and muffins.

Quinoa – the anti-aging supergrain

Quinoa is actually a seed originally grown in Central and South America. The Aztecs cooked quinoa 4,000 years ago!

**Why it’s super: **It has twice the protein content of rice and contains all 9 essential amino acids, important to make keratin for healthy, thick hair and collagen for youthful skin. Quinoa is a source of vitamin E, which can also protect against signs of skin ageing.

How to use it: Boil or steam it like rice.

Wheatberry – the celeb supergrain

Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow are wheatberry aficionados. Wheatberries are whole-wheat kernels- when ground down, they become wholemeal flour.

**Why they’re super: **They contain the brain, germ and endosperm of the whole wheat kernel. They are high in fibre and energy-giving B vitamins.

**How to use: **Sprinkle on a salad or add to home-made bread for extra crunch. They can be cooked and served as a side dish, like rice.

Spelt – supergrain lite

Spelt is the closest supergrain to normal wheat. It is actually wheat, but in an ancient form and contains much less gluten than you find in conventional wheat flour.

**Why it’s super: **It is lower in gluten, and so those who have an intolerance to wheat or gluten (although not coeliacs) may be able to eat it symptom-free. Spelt is also an excellent source of manganese, which may reduce symptoms of PMS.

How to use it: Spelt flour can be used just like normal flour to make breads and muffins.

A short trip to the Bulk Barn, or any similiar store and you will find all of the above, individually or in blends. Have a look around, try something new! There's more to life than white rice and potatoes.

Cheers, and have a great week...enjoy the extra day off, if you have it!

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