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Gluten-Free Grains

by Slaven Beram
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Millet is so versatile, it can be used in main dishes and desserts. It has a delicate nutty flavor and, depending on how it is cooked, a texture that can be crunchy or soft. It is great for salads, risotto, but we also use it for pizza crusts and muffins.

One note on millet, though: it contains goitrogens. Goitrogens are those substances in food that suppress thyroid activity and can lead to goiter, an enlargement of this very important gland which resides in the throat. While the goitrogens in foods that contain them are usually reduced by cooking (such as cruciferous vegetables), cooking actually increases the goitrogenic effect of millet. Therefore, people who suffer from thyroid disorders should use it sparingly, as we do.

Quinoa is a complete protein, which means it provides all nine essential amino acids necessary for good health. It is so nutritious that NASA scientists have been looking at it as a suitable crop to be grown in outer space. It is great for vegetable salads but also can be used for muffins, pizza crusts.,and gluten-free bread.

Basmati rice is a long-grain aromatic Indian rice. It has about 20% more fiber than regular rice. It has a light, fluffy texture and characteristic smell (in fact Basmati in Hindi literally means fragrant). Be sure to use brown basmati rice instead of white.

Brown rice is the whole rice grain with just the first outer layer (husk) removed through milling. It retains its fiber and germ which contains vital nutrients- it is extremely high in selenium, manganese, and phosphorus. White rice is brown rice that has been milled to remove the bran and much of the germ, reducing fiber and nutrient content. So, I guess it is always a better choice to eat brown rice.

Red rice is a type of unhulled rice known by its red husk rather than brown. Whenever this rice is cooked, red color from the bran leaches out and colorizes rest of the dish. Red rice is rich in antioxidants and lowers high cholesterol. It is great for making various salads.

Black rice is sometimes called forbidden rice. It is ancient rice that has amazing health benefits. It is richer in antioxidants than other rice varieties and has great anti-inflammatory properties. For centuries it was available only to Chinese royalty.

Wild rice is an aquatic grass, not a grain, but we call it rice because it looks and cooks like all other types of rice. Wild rice is the easiest rice to digest and contains no arsenic like other types of rice do. It grows in the Great Lakes region of North America and was used by Native Americans in this area. Nowadays, you can find it in health food stores around the world. It has a nutty, earthy flavor and nice chewy texture.

Buckwheat – Buckwheat grows so quickly that it does not usually require a lot of pesticides or other chemicals to grow well. It can be served as an alternative to rice or made into porridge. It is a rich source of easily digested protein and ranks low on the glycemic scale. It has an impressive range of proteins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Amaranth is a high-quality source of plant protein including two essential amino acids, lysine, and methionine, which are generally low in grains. It is packed with iron and calcium. Also, new research showed that Amaranth also contains a certain peptide – an anti-inflammatory molecule which can help to alleviate conditions like arthritis, gout, and other inflammation-related issues.

Teff is a small, gluten-free grain with a long list of health benefits. It is a species of lovegrass native to Ethiopia. It is one of the most nutritious grains in the world. It has lots of calcium, fiber, protein, and antioxidants. The most common use of teff is making flour and bread, but it can be used in the same way as any other cereal grain.

Rolled oats – Oats contain beta-glucans, a type of soluble fiber that slows down the absorption of carbohydrates into the bloodstream. This slower digestion prevents dramatic spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels. We use them in veggie burgers, desserts, oatmeal…

Photo source: Freepik

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