Researchers Identify Alternative Grains as Promising Superfoods

USDA Agricultural Research Service scientists at the Functional Foods Research Unit have been exploring grain alternatives to wheat, corn, and rice that can make foods both healthy and tasty. The team was looking for alternatives that were gluten free, low in sugar, and offered improved nutritional qualities, yet at the same time preserved the functionality and sensory profile of the finished food. The team identified several alternative grains as promising superfoods: amaranth, chia, and sorghum. “Some alternative grain crops are naturally advantageous for farmers too. Many are relatively drought resistant and may require fewer resources than corn or wheat. For example, sorghum plants offer those characteristics plus natural pest resistance, soil enrichment, and potential biofuel production,” said research leader Sean Liu. “Ultimately, alternative grains can make both us and the planet healthier.”