With the rise of gluten-free foods and wheat alternatives, finding a solid whole grain has become more important than ever before. Recently, a lesser-known grain called Kernza is getting special attention for its health-boosting benefits — and its potential to revolutionize farming.
What is Kernza?
Kernza is a perennial grain developed by an agricultural nonprofit called the Land Institute. Known for its nutty and sweet flavor, the long-rooted food contains many crucial nutrients our bodies need to stay strong, but what sets it apart is that it’s an environmentally-friendly grain. Here’s a fun fact: It took over three decades for scientists to create and refine, but they’re sure it’s going to be the grain to stick around in the long run.
What are Kernza’s health benefits?
Kernza beats out traditional wheat in a number of categories when it comes to health. It has 18 grams of fiber per 100 grams compared to 10.8 grams in wheat as well as 19.2 grams of protein compared to wheat’s 9.2. (It also has infinitely more fiber and protein than quinoa.) That fiber is critical for lowering your risk of heart disease, reducing instances of type 2 diabetes, and promoting regular digestion throughout your body, including lessening bloating and stomach discomfort. It’s also important for weight management.
In addition to being great for your insides, Kernza has gotten special attention for helping with nutrient cycling and soil ecology. In other words, while many crops strip the earth when they’re grown and harvested every year, kernza replenishes the ground, making it more sustainable. Researchers also believe that it won’t require any special storage or handling — and may even last longer than other grains! — which is an added bonus.
Where can you find it?
As noted by Whole Foods, Kernza is starting to pop up in several grocery store products. So, you should be able to spot those when you’re shopping for breakfast cereals, crackers, pastas, and more. It may take a little while to rise to the popularity of existing wheat alternatives like quinoa, but keep an eye out.