NUTRITION MONTH: THE POWER OF ANCIENT GRAINS FOR A HEALTHIER SNACK

Toronto, December 21, 2021 – Living through a global pandemic has made most of us hyper-conscious of our health and immune systems. Although we all want to be as healthy as we can, after 18 months of stress spent near the refrigerator, it’s no surprise that Canadians want comfort food. Data from a popular meal kit delivery service shows that people from coast to coast are indulging in familiar, comforting foods, with a spike in demand for meals laden with refined carbs, and a drastic drop in demand for vegetarian dishes — from 20% at the beginning of the pandemic to just 7.88% in the spring of 2021 [1]. Additionally, a whopping 73.9% of Canadians confess to reaching for healthy snacks only “occasionally” or even “never” [2].

While there is no sure-fire way to prevent viruses or disease, we know that eating the right foods plays a huge part in optimizing our immune function. Interestingly, new research shows a direct correlation between our gut health and our overall health. In order to function optimally, our immune system requires a steady stream of nutrients that we acquire through a balanced diet filled with prebiotic foods — the dietary fibre that feeds the “good” bacteria in our gut — of which, wholegrain fibre is particularly beneficial. Whole grains like oats, quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat, millet and amaranth supply folate, magnesium, selenium and iron, helping to regulate inflammation and thereby aiding in the prevention of a multitude of diseases including type 2 diabetes [3].

So what do we do when we don’t want to swap our comforting refined carbs like pasta, crackers and cereal for whole grains? Enter Sesame Snaps. Canada’s favourite on-the-go snack since the 70s has introduced new Seeds & Grains bars, which offer the same sweet taste of our childhood with the added benefit of whole, ancient grains. Their sweet, satisfying crunch means there is no compromising on taste when it comes to choosing a healthier snacking alternative to cookies and chips, and makes getting the beneficial whole grains our guts need, a little easier. Packing a powerful punch, new Sesame Snaps Seeds & Grains bars merge the dietary benefits of sesame seeds with the even more robust health benefits of puffed ancient grains including amaranth, millet, quinoa and buckwheat, all in a convenient single serving that is both vegetarian and naturally gluten-free. Made with natural ingredients, they contain no artificial flavours, colours or preservatives. A source of fiber and Omega-6, the gluten-free crispy snack provides 4g of protein per bar to propel you through the day.

“There’s a difference between snacking and purposeful snacking”, explains Svetlana Vnučko, Marketing Director at Unitop – the producer of Sesame Snaps. “Fuelling your body to give it the energy it needs is about making more balance choices and shifting away from restrictive no carb diets. Simple, more natural ingredients such as seeds and ancient grains support your heart health as well as your immune and digestive systems.”

Despite the fact that whole grains have been on the menu for tens of thousands of years, many modern diets have demonized
grains, denouncing them as being bad for you, pushing them to the back of the food pantry. And that’s partly true if you’re
over-indulging in refined grains — hello, white bread, cookies, and pasta—which have been linked to obesity and inflammation. But whole grains are a different story and thanks to the proliferation of nutrition and health experts on social media, people are catching on. You can scarcely scroll through your Instagram feed without passing an artfully curated grain-filled breakfast bowl with a caption about “fueling your body”, accompanied by trending hashtags like #mindfuleating, #wellness and #wholefoods. Lunch box approved and easy to slip into a gym bag or your pocket, new Sesame Snaps Seeds & Grains bars are reflective of this shift away from deprivation, back toward whole, nutrient-dense, functional foods that will be enjoyed by the entire family, impacting everyone’s well-being, one bite at a time.

Unlike their modern counterparts, wheat, corn, and rice, ancient grains continue to be grown and harvested the same way they were a thousand years ago — without biotechnological interference like refinement and genetic modification. Ancient grain including amaranth, millet, quinoa, spelt, buckwheat and teff, to name a few, are nutritional powerhouses, offering more protein, fibre, omega 3s, B vitamins, zinc and magnesium, per serving, than modern grains. A cup of cooked teff, for instance, has 10 grams of protein and 7 grams of fibre compared to the 5 grams of protein and 3 grams of fibre in a cup of cooked brown rice. While they offer superior nutrition, they are also easier to digest and are naturally gluten-free.

A staple among the Aztecs who took advantage of this superfood’s myriad health benefits including:

  • High in protein
  • Contains phytonutrients, which fight inflammation, high blood pressure, and may prevent certain cancers
  • Gluten-free
  • Source of dietary fibre, which slows the absorption of sugars in the bloodstream for steady energy
  • Contains phytosterols, which help lower cholesterol
  • Contains vitamins and minerals including high levels of calcium, magnesium and copper. Also a good source of many essential vitamins including vitamins A,C,K, and B.

Originally from Peru, Quinoa has a number of distinctive qualities:

  • Contains all nine essential amino acids.
  • Contains potent flavonoids, quentin and kaempferol, which have numerous health benefits
  • Higher in fibre than most other grains
  • Gluten-free
  • Improves metabolic health by lowering blood sugar and triglyceride levels
  • High in vitamins and minerals including manganese, magnesium, zinc, iron, and copper, to name a few.

Consumed in plentiful amounts in Asian countries, Buckwheat is becoming increasingly popular owing to the dietary essentials it provides:

  • High in protein
  • Contains phytonutrients, which fight inflammation, high blood pressure, and may prevent certain cancers
  • Gluten-free
  • Source of dietary fibre, which slows the absorption of sugars in the bloodstream for steady energy
  • Contains phytosterols, which help lower cholesterol
  • Contains vitamins and minerals including high levels of calcium, magnesium and copper. Also a good source of many essential vitamins including vitamins A,C,K, and B.

This sweet, nutty grain has been a staple to the Hunzas people, who are native to the Himalayan foothills, for its amazing health benefits:

  • Sustains energy because it’s a slow-digesting “smart” carb
  • Good source of probiotic fibre
  • High in magnesium and niacin
  • It has anti-inflammatory properties as it decreases triglycerides and C-reactive proteins
  • High antioxidant activity
  • Gluten-free
  • Very high in protein (15%)

The four new Sesame Snaps Seeds & Grains bars join the family of original Sesame Snaps snacks, which are available in five varieties including quinoa, chia, vanilla, honey and classic. Part of our collective childhood memories since the 70s, Sesame Snaps products boast recyclable packaging and are made without the use of palm oil. In fact, all Sesame Snaps products are made with just a handful of simple ingredients you can pronounce. The new Seeds & Grain bars are available at retailers across Canada including Whole Foods, Save on Foods, IGA and Amazon.ca, for the suggested retail price of $0.99. For more information about Sesame Snaps products and to learn where to buy the new Sesame Snaps Seeds & Grains bars visit www.sesamesnaps.ca

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