By : Komal Thakur (Pharmacist, Naturopath, Health & Fitness Enthusiast)

Best gluten free grains

So Gluten, what is all this fuss about? So many people have suddenly become aware about going gluten free. Is it really needed or it’s just another marketing gimmick that will trick you into opting for Gluten free consumer products that are available in the market? This movement against Gluten started picking up first in the US , obviously just like everything else targeted towards the consumer driven market and slowly the FMCG brands worldwide caught up and started marketing products with Gluten Free mentioned very specifically on the packs. Let us clear any myth around it and very specifically look into the food replacements in case you choose to go the Gluten free path.


What is Gluten? It’s a protein which is generally found in wheat, barley, rye and certain other not so regularly used grains. The bad news here is that beer also contains gluten, so there goes your weekend! It’s a protein that acts like a glue and holds the dough together. This sticky texture is what allows the breads to rise and be baked to perfection. This is what makes the Indian flat breads (Chapati’s) easy to be rolled. It mainly consists of two proteins glutenin and gliadin, and Gliadin is the one that is the culprit here. Gluten impacts individuals with Celiac Disease (CD). In CD, on consumption of gluten the inner wall of small intestine is attacked and ruptured, which is a pretty harmful effect. Sounds quite disastrous and it is for people with CD, however non CD related gluten allergies are also possible in some individuals, though not very common. Some individuals believe that it helps them cut down carbohydrates and lose weight, it might not always be the case. To put it in other words, most breads, pastas, junk foods contain gluten, so it’s best to avoid that if you are looking at losing weight or for general health maintenance. Cutting off gluten will not do you any harm, however you need to ensure that the essential protein, carbohydrates and Iron requirements are met.


Top 5 grains to go Gluten free-


1. Rice

Rice of course, is gluten free. Most Asian population for that matter, is on Gluten free diet and they are doing well without wheat. Rice is not extremely high in calories when compared to wheat, it has a good amount of protein as well. Carbohydrates and starch are present in rice abundantly. This makes a good replacement for wheat and an accompaniment with your vegetables and rice flour can easily be a replacement for wheat flour wherever applicable. Rice have a decent amount of vitamin B6 so it can be a good replacement. However, some additional protein and vitamins need to be compensated with vegetables and pulses.


2. Oats

Not much needs to be said about oats. Although oats maybe as high in calories as is wheat, they are extremely high in fiber which is good for the gut. Oats have a higher protein content when compared to wheat. The protein avenalin, which is specifically found in oats isn’t found in any other grain. Oats are high in iron too and provide good amounts of the B complex vitamins. Avenalin however, may not be suitable for individuals with CD, but individuals who prefer a gluten free diet can safely consume oats.


3. Ragi/ Nachni

Ragi is almost a super food because it’s full of Protein, Iron and good carbohydrates. It has zero cholesterol and all the good fats to keep your fat intake in check. The calories are almost same as in wheat, however the nutritional profile is much varied and diverse. The calcium content is extremely high, hence your calcium intake is taken care of by just consuming 2 ragi flat breads every day. This is extremely good for maintaining your bone health. Ragi is 100% gluten free and a good source of fiber too. It can safely be consumed by diabetic individuals as its glycemic index is low compared to wheat or rice. Ragi is also recommended post heart ailments since it has good amounts of potassium and magnesium which keep your heart healthy.


 4. Quinoa

Very easily available across India, Quinoa was traditionally grown in Africa and is an extremely bitter grain. The now available form of Quinoa is more appetizing and can be safely consumed. The known benefits of this grain include it having super high fiber content and low fat hence great for the gut health. The protein content is also sufficiently high and can be easily used as a replacement of both wheat and rice. The calorie content is not very low, but it is known to help in weight loss because of the fiber content. It’s very high in anti-oxidant which will keep you looking younger. This anti-oxidant property is associated with it being a preventive remedy for Cancer. The glycemic index is pretty low and hence can be safely consumed by diabetic population.


5. Millets like Jowar/ Bajra

Millets have always been part of the regular Indian diet. Although both jowar and bajra may contain slightly higher calories, the nutritional composition always makes them a good replacement for wheat. Both Jowar and Bajra are very high in all the vitamins and essential minerals and hence are perfectly good to be consumed on a daily basis without any harm. If you are weight conscious these won’t lead to any weight gain too.  Both help in managing cholesterol, help maintain blood sugar levels also contribute to brain health due to their high levels of micronutrients.


While considering any deviation from your regular diet you must always analyze what you are replacing and that your replacement will not imbalance any of the nutritional requirements. To be assured about your daily macro and micronutrient requirements, you can always add GRD- The superior protein, to your everyday diet. With GRD you need not worry about disrupting your diet, and you can be assured about fortifying and upgrading your health. GRD is India’s trusted brand when it comes to maintaining your entire family’s health and you can’t go wrong with it!

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