The following are grains one can consume while on a gluten free diet.

 Kathy Smart, HTC, PTS, RNC, RSNA

Amaranth is not an actual grain; it is an ancient Aztec plant which produces flowerets containing tiny grain-like seeds.  It has a nut-like flavour, and is high in protein and is the second highest in quality protein (second only to quinoa, being short of lysine to be a complete protein), dietary fibre, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, calcium and B vitamins.

Arrowroot starch is ground from the root of a West Indian plant. It is an excellent thickener, and can be exchanged for cornstarch. Make sure to mix in water and make a paste before adding to thicken sauces or soups.

Buckwheat is classified as a fruit, not a cereal grain, and is closely related to rhubarb. It is triangular in shape and has a black shell. The kernel inside the shell is known as a groat. Groats, or dehulled buckwheat kernels, are sold as roasted or unroasted. Roasted groats are called kasha; roasting gives buckwheat kernels a nutty flavour. Unroasted whole groats are cooked and used as a side dish, pasta (soba noodles) or can be ground into cream of buckwheat cereal or flour. Dark flour has a stronger, distinctive flavour and is higher in fibre and nutrients. Buckwheat provides a very good source of high-quality protein and dietary fibre, and is high in magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, B6, iron, B3, B1 and zinc.

Flax has been consumed throughout history for its nutritional and health benefits. Flax is rich in alpha-linolenic acid, an essential omega-3 fatty acid, dietary fibre and plant lignans. Flaxseeds may help protect against coronary heart disease, osteoporosis, as well as breast and colon cancer. Flaxseeds also lower blood cholesterol levels, promote bowel regularity, balance estrogen levels, and promote healthy skin and brain cells. Flax is high in vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.

Garfava flour is blended from a combination of chickpeas and fava (or broad) beans, high in protein and fibre.

Garbanzo flour is ground chickpeas, high in protein and fibre.

Millet is a cereal commonly used in Europe and is gaining much popularity in North America. It is one of the oldest of the ancient grains. Millet contains considerable protein, as well as B vitamins, lecithin, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.

Potato flour is coarser than potato starch. It is creamy and heavy in texture. It absorbs much more liquid than potato starch. Potato four is best combined in small quantities with other flours. Potato starch is an excellent thickener and can be used in baking.

Quinoa is not a grain but a broad-leafed plant. Quinoa seeds are naturally covered with saponin, an extremely bitter resin which protects it from birds and insects. To be edible, the saponin must be removed. It has been consumed for thousands of years in South America, originating from the Andean Mountains, and was one of the staple foods of the Inca civilization. Quinoa contains the highest amount of protein and the highest quality protein than any other grains and cereals, as it is a complete protein containing all essential amino acids. It is also high in iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, B1, B2, B3, calcium and dietary fibre.

A staple food for more than half of the world’s people, rice comes in long, medium and short grain varieties. Brown rice has the indigestible husk removed, but still has the whole kernel and is rich in nutrients such as B vitamins, vitamin E, iron, protein and linoleic acid (omega-6 fatty acids). White rice has the husk, several outer layers and the germ removed, and so is much less nutritious.

Sorghum is a major cereal grain that grows in hot, semi-arid tropical and dry temperate areas of the world (USA, Mexico, Africa, India, and China). It is similar in composition to corn. Sorgum is a good source of protein and dietary fibre, and is high in phosphorus, potassium, B1, B3, B6 and iron.

Tapioca starch flour is derived from the cassava root. It is colorless and tasteless when cooked and is an excellent thickener

Teff is a grass native to Ethiopia and the eastern African highlands, and is the smallest of all grains in the world. This grain is used to make “injera”, flat, thin, porous bread. It has a unique, mild molasses-like flavour, and the grain can be white or black. Teff seeds are and are more nutritious than most grains as the small seed size means the germ and bran, the outer part of the seed, account for a much larger volume of the seed, and these portions are where the nutrients are concentrated. Teff is high in protein, calcium, magnesium, iron, B1, B2, B3 and zinc.

Whole bean flour is made from romano beans. It is high in protein and dietary fibre and provides more calcium, iron, potassium, B1, B2, and folate than other traditional gluten-free fours. Baked products made with bean flours have a better texture that more closely resembles wheat products but the flavour will be different.

Wild rice, an aquatic grass indigenous to North America, grows extensively in shallow lakes and streams. It is not a member of the rice family, and has a distinct, nut-like, roasted flavor. It is a good source of dietary fibre and protein, and is a source of phosphorus, potassium and zinc.

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