Not related to wheat in any way, buckwheat is actually a seed that comes from the plant Fagopyrum esculentum, which remains fairly short but becomes very widespread and develops green heart-shaped leaves with tiny white flowers. Cultivated as a grain-like seed and a cover crop throughout Asia and in parts of Europe and North America, the seeds of the plant are commonly referred to as a pseudocereal. The seeds are rich in protein and fiber, as well as a variety of antioxidants and other nutrients, which leads many people to consider buckwheat a superfood.
Chia is an edible seed that comes from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, grown in Mexico dating back to Mayan and Aztec cultures. ``Chia`` means strength, and folklore has it that these cultures used the tiny black and white seeds as an energy booster. That makes sense, as chia seeds are a concentrated food containing healthy omega-3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, protein, fiber, antioxidants, and calcium.
It seems these days, quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is still all anyone talks about. Everywhere we turn there are quinoa salads, quinoa fried rice, and now even quinoa protein shakes. Forged in South America thousands of years ago and called “the mother grain`` by the Inca, quinoa today is still considered a wonderful “superfood” — especially once the United Nations declared 2013 the “International Year of Quinoa.” (Yes, that happened).
Lentils, small, lens-shaped legumes, range from yellow and red to green, brown, and even black. They are inexpensive, highly nutritious, and can be stored for a long time without refrigeration. These features have made lentils a staple food in many cultures across the globe.