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A brief guide to grains

The process that produces brown rice is the least damaging to its nutritional value. The milling and polishing that converts brown rice into white rice destroys 67 percent of the vitamin B3, 80% of the vitamin B1, 90 percent of the vitamin B6, half of the manganese, half of the phosphorus, 60 percent of the iron, and all of the dietary fiber and essential fatty acids. Fully milled and polished white rice is required to be “enriched” with vitamins B1, B3 and iron.

Spelt’s “nutty” flavor has long been popular in Europe, where it is also known as “Farro” (Italy) and “Dinkle” (Germany). In Roman times it was “Farrum”, and origins can be traced back early Mesopotamia. Spelt is a ancient and distant cousin to modern wheat and is one of the oldest of cultivated grains. It is naturally high in fibre, and contain significantly more protein than wheat. Spelt is also higher in B complex vitamins, and both simple and complex carbohydrates. Another important benefit is that some gluten-sensitive people have been able to include spelt-based foods in their diets.

Pronounced ‘keen-wah’ (and not quin-o-a), quinoa is a grain-like crop grown primarily for its edible seeds. It is a pseudocereal rather than a true cereal, or grain, as it is not a member of the grass family. As a chenopod, quinoa is closely related to species such as beets and spinach. Unlike wheat or rice, quinoa is a complete protein – containing all eight of the essential amino acids. It has been recognised by the United Nations as a supercrop for its health benefits: packed with dietary fibre, phosphorus, magnesium and iron. It is also gluten-free and easy to digest.

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