Gluten sensitivity is much more common these days, however, those who have sworn off gluten could be missing out on many health benefits and important nutrients.
“Even if you’re gluten sensitive, you don’t have to give up all whole grains,” says the author of The South Beach Diet Gluten Solution Arthur Agatston, MD. “There are many grains that do not contain gluten and that will not cause any symptoms.”
If you’ve cut down on gluten but don’t want to sacrifice any health benefits, here are six gluten-free grains that are chock full of nutritional value.
Despite having “wheat” in its name, buckwheat doesn’t actually contain any wheat. Buckwheat is especially great for individuals who are looking to get pregnant because 100 grams of it contains 33 percent of the daily recommended allowance of folate.
Folate is an important nutrient that has been linked to improving a woman’s chances of releasing an egg during ovulation. According to research from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, women with the highest levels of folate were 63 percent less likely to fail to release an egg during ovulation than women with low levels of folate.
Buckwheat is also good for prospective fathers, as studies have shown that folate and zinc can boost sperm counts by 74 percent.
Brown and black rice
In the refining process of making white rice, the bran and germ are removed which strips the rice of its disease-preventing nutrients and satiating fiber. This makes opting for brown and black rice a healthier choice, especially if you want to lose weight.
According to a study published in Nutrition Research, women who ate a meal replacement made out of brown and black rice lost more weight and body fat than those who ate white rice. The authors believe that this is a result of the differences in fiber content. White rice has eight grams of fiber per 100 grams of rice, while brown and black rice have 23 grams of fiber, meaning that those who eat brown and black rice feel satiated for longer.
For athletes who need to boost their protein to build strong muscles, switching regular wheat flour for quinoa flour is a great move. According to a study in the Journal of Cereal Science, 100 grams of quinoa flour contains 13.5 grams of protein, which is 29 percent of the daily recommended intake for women and 24 percent for men. This is four more grams than what is found in whole-wheat flour.
Amaranth packs quite a lot of fiber and many other health benefits. It has been linked to reducing cholesterol and hypertension, which means that amaranth is great for athletes who need to “carb load” before a feat of endurance such as a marathon or triathlon.
While oats are loaded with nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin, and niacin, one of the best things about oats is that it contains the compound beta-glucan, a type of dietary fiber. A 2010 review of 10 years’ worth of studies revealed that beta-glucan fights insulin resistance, which makes it a great option for people at risk for obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.
This grain has 53 percent of the daily recommended dose of magnesium, 52 percent of zinc, and 47 percent of the RDA of iron. All three are key for optimal immune function, which is especially important these days.