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Great Gluten-Free Grains

If you have celiac disease, are gluten intolerant or have a wheat allergy, it may seem like there is nothing to eat because baked and processed foods usually contain wheat flour. In fact, there are many delicious and nutritious grains that are safe for a gluten-free or wheat-free diet.

There are many varieties of rice, including white rice, brown rice, Forbidden Black and Bhutanese Red rice. Each has its own texture and flavor. Brown rice is more nutritious than white rice because the bran of the rice has not been removed. Rice supplies good quantities of potassium, the B vitamins, thiamin and niacin.
Foods made from rice include:

  • rice vinegar
  • rice cakes
  • rice crackers
  • risotto
  • rice pasta
  • rice flour

Beware of Rice-a-Roni, as it is a mixture of rice and wheat pasta.
You can find out more about rice at Lundberg Family Farms or Lotus Foods.

Corn is the second most plentiful grain in the world behind rice and ahead of wheat. Yellow sweet corn is a good source of lutein and folate. White sweet corn has much less lutein and vitamin A.
Foods made from corn include:

  • polenta
  • cornmeal
  • corn flour

Quinoa has a delicious flavor and light and fluffy texture. Quinoa has been called a “super-grain” because it contains up to 50% more protein than most other grains. It contains high levels of lysine and iron, and a cup of cooked quinoa has more calcium than a cup of milk. Quinoa contains high levels of potassium and riboflavin, as well as vitamin B6, niacin, and thiamin. It is also a good source of magnesium, zinc, copper, and manganese, and has some folate (folic acid).
Foods made from quinoa include:

  • quinoa flour
  • quinoa and corn pasta
  • quinoa flakes

You can find out more about quinoa at Quinoa Corporation.

Buckwheat contains all essential amino acids (eight proteins that the body cannot manufacture) in good proportions, making it closer to being a “complete” protein than any other plant source, even soybeans. One cup of buckwheat kasha kernels provides over 20% of dietary fiber.
Foods made from buckwheat include:

  • cream of buckwheat
  • whole buckwheat groats
  • Kasha – roasted groats (not to be confused with Kashi which is not gluten-free)
  • buckwheat flour

Beware of buckwheat pancakes, which may contain wheat flour.
You can find an array of buckwheat products at Pocono Foods.

Millet’s protein content is very close to that of wheat. Millet is rich in B vitamins, especially niacin, B6, and folate and offers calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, and zinc. It is considered to be one of the least allergenic grains available.
Foods made from millet include:

  • millet flour

Oats are a cereal grain. The Gluten Intolerance Group of North America’s position on oats is that pure, uncontaminated oats in moderation (1 cup cooked) daily are safe for most persons with celiac disease. However, most oats are harvested and milled in the same facility with glutenous grains, mainly wheat. Therefore, unless buying oats from a source that is not contaminated with wheat, oats are considered unsafe for those allergic to wheat or gluten intolerant. Two sources for gluten free oats are Gluten Free Oats and Gifts of Nature.
Foods made from oats include:

  • rolled oats
  • oatmeal
  • oat flour

Amaranth contains large amounts of dietary fiber, iron, and calcium. Amaranth is also an excellent source of high quality, balanced protein.
Foods made from amaranth include:

  • amaranth cereal
  • amaranth flour
  • flatbread
  • crackers

You can find an array of amaranth products at Nu-World Amaranth.

Sorghum is one of the oldest known grains and is a major food source in Africa and India. Sorghum is high in insoluble fiber, with relatively small amounts of soluble fiber. The protein and starch in sorghum are more slowly digested than other cereals, which can be beneficial to diabetics. Sorghum is high in protein.
Foods made from sorghum include:

  • sorghum flour
  • beer

You can find out more about sorghum at National Sorghum Producers.

Teff is the staple grain in Ethiopia and Eritrea. Teff is high in protein and fiber. It has a very high calcium content, and contains high levels of phosphorous, iron, copper, aluminum, barium, and thiamin.
Foods made from teff include:

  • teff flour

You can find out more about teff at The Teff Company.

Potato is not a grain, but is commonly used as a starch in gluten-free foods.
Potatos are high in carbohydrates and high in potassium and vitamin B6.
Foods made from potato include:

  • potato chips
  • french fries
  • potato flour
  • potato starch (also known as potato starch flour)

Beware of Pringles potato chips which have wheat starch in them.

Tapioca is not a grain, but is commonly used as a starch in gluten-free foods. Tapioca is derived from the cassava (or manioc, or yucca) plant. While it has no significant nutritive value, it works well as a binder in gluten-free recipes.
Foods made from tapioca include:

  • tapioca flour
  • pearl tapioca (used to make pudding)
  • Brazilian bread

Beans are not grains, but legumes that can be ground into flour. Soy, garbanzo (chick pea), fava and pinto bean flours are used in gluten-free foods. They tend to have a strong taste, so are best used in conjunction with other gluten-free flours when baking. Beans are high in protein and fiber.
Foods made bean flours include:

  • gluten-free baked goods
  • gluten-free baking mixes
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