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9 Super Healthy Gluten-Free Grains

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By Rachael Link, MS, RD

Gluten is a protein found in certain types of grains, including wheat, barley and rye. It provides elasticity, allows bread to rise and gives foods a chewy texture (1, 2).

Although gluten is not a problem for most people, some may not tolerate it well.


Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that triggers an immune response to gluten. For those with this disease or a gluten sensitivity, eating gluten can cause symptoms like bloating, diarrhea and stomach pain (3).

Many of the most commonly consumed grains contain gluten. However, there are plenty of nutritious gluten-free grains available, too.

This article will list nine gluten-free grains that are super healthy.

1. Sorghum

Sorghum is typically cultivated as both a cereal grain and animal feed. It is also used to produce sorghum syrup, a type of sweetener, as well as some alcoholic beverages.

This gluten-free grain contains beneficial plant compounds that act as antioxidants to reduce oxidative stress and lower the risk of chronic disease (4).

A 2010 test-tube and animal study found that sorghum possesses significant anti-inflammatory properties due to its high content of these plant compounds (5).

Additionally, sorghum is rich in fiber and can help slow the absorption of sugar to keep blood sugar levels steady.

One study compared blood sugar and insulin levels in 10 participants after eating a muffin made with either sorghum or whole-wheat flour. The sorghum muffin led to a greater reduction in both blood sugar and insulin than the whole-wheat muffin (6).

One cup (192 grams) of sorghum contains 12 grams of fiber, 22 grams of protein and almost half of the iron you need in a day (7).

Sorghum has a mild flavor and can be ground into flour for baking gluten-free goods. It can also substitute for barley in recipes like mushroom-barley soup.

Summary: Several studies have shown that sorghum is high in plant compounds and may help reduce both inflammation and blood sugar.

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