As the field of nutritional research continues to improve and grow, we are learning more and more about what we should and should not be eating to maintain a healthy weight and general good health. Most recently, we have learned more about gluten – a storage protein found in wheat, barley and rye – and its potentially negative effects on weight and health.
As a result, many people are striving to reduce or eliminate gluten from their diets. If you are looking for grain alternatives to gluten, here are 9 grains that you should try.
The amaranth plant – whose name means “everlasting” in Greek – was named for the fact that its flowers do not lose their color, even after cutting and drying.
Native to Mexico and South America, amaranth is a pseudo-cereal and a great alternative to gluten in your diet. In addition to being a great source of lysine, amaranth has the most protein of any of the other gluten alternatives.
Buckwheat has been grown in America since at least the colonial era. It is available year-round and can be used in place of rice, or made into a hearty breakfast porridge.
Buckwheat is high in soluble dietary fiber and is a better source of minerals than rice.
Millet, one of the oldest cultivated crops in the history of the earth, is actually the main ingredient in bird seed. Do not let this deter you from enjoying millet as a gluten-free grain, however. Millet has many health benefits including heart protective properties and an abundance of minerals.
Non-contaminated oats are a wonderful alternative for people following a gluten-free diet. Nearly everyone has eaten oatmeal, and oat flour is a wonderful substitute for traditional wheat flour. In the past, oats were not considered a safe food for people who have eliminated gluten due to contamination from wheat. However, these days you can find a wide array of non-contaminated oats available for purchase.
Quinoa is a Peruvian seed that can be cooked in as many ways as rice. It is highly nutritious and has a number of anti-inflammatory properties.
6. Wild Rice
Rice has long been seen as the go-to gluten-free grain. To maximize the nutrition from rice consumption, choose brown or wild rice instead of white rice. White rice has fewer nutrients due to the amount of processing it undergoes.
Sorghum is grown in places where it is too dry or hot to grow corn. Native to Africa, sorghum is easy to use and easy to grow. Try it in place of wheat flour in any recipe.
Teff has been used in Ethiopia for centuries, but has only very recently become a popular cereal grain in the West. Teff is a tiny grain, but has the most calcium of any grain on the planet. A cup of teff has more than 100 mg of calcium!
Indian rice grass is a plant native to Utah and other western states. Its abundance makes it an ideal food source. Indian rice grass has many plump seeds that can be milled into a flour substitute.
What is your favorite gluten-free grain?