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Amaranth contains more than three times the average amount of calcium and is also high in iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. It’s the only grain confirmed to contain Vitamin C. Its protein content of 13-14% makes it higher than most other grains—and it’s a “complete” protein because it contains lysine, an amino acid that not many other grains contain.


Barley has the highest fiber content of all the grains, with common varieties ringing up about 17% fiber. It’s high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

Brown Rice

Unlike white rice, brown rice provides vitamin E and is high in fiber. It also contains generous amounts of manganese, magnesium, and selenium, as well as tryptophan. Look for brown basmati from California, India, or Pakistan as they have about a third less inorganic arsenic than brown rice from other regions.


Buckwheat contains higher levels of zinc, copper, and manganese than most grains — it also provides a very high amount of protein (second highest only to oats). It is rich in lysine, and its amino acid score is 100, which is one of the highest amino acid scores among plant sources!

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Bulgur is whole wheat berries that have been boiled, dried, and cracked. It has more fiber than quinoa, oats, millet, buckwheat or corn. It is commonly made from durum wheat, but almost any wheat, hard or soft, red or white, can be used.


Corn has 10 times more vitamin A than other grains, and recent research shows that corn is exuberantly high in antioxidants and carotenoids, especially those that are associated with eye health, such as lutein and zeaxanthin. Eating corn with beans creates a complementary mix of amino acids that raises the protein value to humans.


Not just for the birds, millet is actually the main staple grain in India, and is popular in China, South America, Russia and the Himalayas. Millet is high in antioxidant activity, and especially high in magnesium.


Like barley, oats offer a unique kind of fiber known as beta-glucan, which is powerful in lowering cholesterol. Studies also show that oats also have a special antioxidant, avenanthramides, that helps protect blood vessels from the damaging effects of LDL cholesterol.

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Quinoa is a “pseudo-cereal” (it is actually related to beets, chard and spinach), but that doesn’t make us love it any less. This superfood promotes super good health as it is one of the only plant foods that’s a complete protein, offering all the essential amino acids. 


Rye’s not just for diner toast with eggs, rye berries are a rich source of fiber, particularly arabinoxylan, which is also known for its high antioxidant activity. Rye grain contains phenolic acids, lignans, alkylresorcinos and many other salubrious compounds.


Spelt is higher in protein than common wheat. It is an excellent source of manganese, and a good source of protein, copper, and zinc. It is high in fiber, and contain notably more protein than wheat. Spelt is also higher in B complex vitamins, and both simple and complex carbohydrates.


Teff leads all the grains – by a long shot – in its calcium content, with a cup of cooked teff offering 123 mg, about the same amount of calcium as in a half-cup of cooked spinach. It’s also an excellent source of vitamin C, a nutrient not commonly found in grains.