You may think you’ve tried every gluten-free grain on the market. Buckwheat? Been there. Millet? Move on already. But there’s one grain that’s ripe for its mainstream moment: Coix seed. Also known as Job’s tears, this chewy grain has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)—an ancient, foundational approach to health—for thousands of years for its medicinal and nutritional properties.
Read on to discover the time-tested benefits of coix seed and how to add it to your daily diet.
What are the health benefits of coix seed?
Protein & nutrient-packed: Coix seed packs a protein punch—6 grams per cup to be exact, more than any other cereal grain. It’s also full of essential amino acids, antioxidants, fiber, and vitamin B, making it an excellent meat alternative for vegetarians.
Period painkiller: If you’re looking for a natural remedy for painful period cramps, this superfood may be for you. In one study, coix seed capsules were 90% more effective than over-the-counter pain medication in relieving menstrual cramps.
Allergy relief: TCM has used coix seed for centuries to ward off pesky allergies. It can be applied topically to treat issues like contact dermatitis and ingested as tea or powder to suppress hay fever.
Gut health: TCM has also traditionally used coix seed to treat stomach pain, bloating, and constipation (hello fiber!). But the benefits don’t stop there: In one study, it inhibited gastric cancer cells and reduced ulcers in mice by promoting healthy gut bacteria.
How can you add the benefits of coix seed to your diet?
Cook it: Boil this mild-tasting gluten-free grain for 45 minutes in a few inches of water until chewy and add it to your favorite healthy bowl, soup, or salad recipe. Pro-tip: you can use the leftover boiled water as a soup base to maximize the superfood’s medicinal properties.
Sip it: DIY coix seed tea by boiling the grain until soft and then stirring in some lemon and rock sugar. Drink it hot or cool it in the fridge and sip over ice.
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