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Ancient Grains – Modern Nutrition

By: , Posted on: October 31, 2017

gluten free ancient grains

As climate change and the emerging pandemic of obesity and its associated diseases threaten humankind’s wellbeing, the ancient grains are today of wide and growing interest among scientists and consumers alike.  However, due to lack of a standard definition “ancient grains” often means different things to different people.

What are ancient grains?

They are the grains of food crops that are particularly well-adapted to cultivation under harsh environmental conditions. Ancient grains have been and largely still are staple traditional foods of many local rural communities; and, importantly, they have the potential to become significant sources of nutrients and health-promoting compounds for the wider world.  .

The book “Gluten-Free Ancient Grains: Cereals, Pseudocereals and Legumes—Sustainable, Nutritious, and Health-Promoting Foods for the 21st Century” deals with those ancient grains that are not related to wheat and hence are gluten-free. These are grains such as sorghum and the millets including teff and fonio, wild rice, the pseudocereals like quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat, plus emerging pulse-type grains such as lupin, cowpea, bambara groundnut and other “lost” African legumes.


Each chapter of the Ancient Grains book, authored by experts, is summation of state-of-the-art knowledge about each particular grain, including information about the crop and its cultivation. Detailed data are provided on the profile of nutritional and bioactive compounds in the grain. Described are technologies for traditional ethnic foods made from the grain and modern food product developments, with a focus on gluten-free foods. The effects of food processing on the grain’s nutritional quality and potential health-enhancing attributes are discussed.

Free Article: Future Research Needs for the Ancient Grains

Additionally, the book examines the critical issues of ancient grain supply to meet the world food demand and the research priorities for ancient grains to become major food staples.

The Foreword to this book is written by Professor Gebisa Ejeta of Purdue University and 2009 World Food Prize laureate.

About the Editors:

john taylorJohn Taylor is professor in the Department of Food Science and Research Theme Leader in the Institute for Food, Nutrition and Well-Being at the University of Pretoria. He is an Honorary President of the International Association for Cereal Science and Technology and a Fellow of three international food science societies.

awika JosephJoseph Awika is professor in the Soil & Crop Science, and Nutrition & Food Science Departments at Texas A&M University, where he leads the Cereal Quality Laboratory.  He consults for several major international food companies and research organizations, and is a member of the scientific advisory board for the Whole Grains Council.

gluten free ancient grains

Access more content within this book on ScienceDirect. Additionally, we are pleased to offer you a free chapter called “Future Research Needs for the Ancient Grains.”

Need the book now? Visit and use discount code STC317 at checkout to save up to 30% on your very own copy!


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Food Science & Nutrition

The field of food science is highly interdisciplinary, spanning areas of chemistry, engineering, biology, and many more. Researchers in these areas achieve fundamental advances in our understanding of agriculture, nutrition, and food-borne illness, and develop new technologies, like food processing methods and packaging material. Against a backdrop of global issues of food supply and regulation, this important work is supported by Elsevier’s catalog of books, eBooks, and journals in food science, considered essential resources for students, instructors, and health professionals worldwide. Learn more about our Food Science and Nutrition books here.