What's the oldest kind of grain still available?
The ancestral varieties are emmer, spelt, einkorn and khorasan. (Some refer to khorasan as "Polish wheat," although we've also heard that these are two different varieties.) The Heritage Grains Foundation says that these ancient varieties are more nutritious, more flavourful, and are easier for our primitive bodies to metabolize and digest than some of the modern strains.
The Mesopotamians also used emmer to make beer.
Quinoa (which is not technically a grain) was known to the Incas as the "Mother Grain" or "Super Grain," and played a major role in their culture.
Kamut International Ltd. sent us this information, for anyone interested in "kamut":
KAMUT® is a trademark for an ancient variety of grain called khorasan. The KAMUT® trademark is a guarantee that the grain has never been hybridized or genetically modified, meets strict quality standards and is always organically grown. “KAMUT” was found as a reference to wheat in an Egyptian hieroglyphic dictionary.
I'm gluten intolerant: what kinds of grains are best for me?
The Heritage Grains Foundation says: don't discount wheat just because you react to most flours. Typical flour tends to include too many wheat varieties to be able to pinpoint which particular wheat is causing the problem. Generally the more modern strains of grains will be harder for our bodies to metabolize and digest, simply because they've become too complex. The simpler ancestral grains, such as emmer and spelt, may be easier for our bodies to digest.