By Rachael Link, MS, RD
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.
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.
Quinoa has quickly become one of the most popular gluten-free grains. It is incredibly versatile plus rich in fiber and plant-based protein.
Additionally, quinoa is high in protein and is one of the few plant foods considered a complete protein.
While most plant foods are lacking in one or two of the essential amino acids required by your body, quinoa contains all eight. This makes it an excellent plant-based source of protein (9).
One cup (185 grams) of cooked quinoa provides 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. It's packed with micronutrients as well and fulfills much of your daily magnesium, manganese and phosphorus requirements (10).
Quinoa is the perfect ingredient to make gluten-free crusts and casseroles. Quinoa flour can also be used to make pancakes, tortillas or quick bread.
Summary: Quinoa contains a good amount of antioxidants. It's also one of the few plant foods containing all the essential amino acids.
Though most well-known as the staple ingredient in bird seed, millet is a very nutritious ancient grain that may provide many health benefits.
One animal study found that feeding millet to rats decreased both blood triglycerides and inflammation (11).
Another study looked at the effects of millet on blood sugar levels in six diabetic patients. It found that millet resulted in a lower glycemic response and lower blood sugar levels compared to rice and wheat (12).
One cup (174 grams) of cooked millet contains 2 grams of fiber, 6 grams of protein plus 19 percent of your daily need for magnesium (13).
You can incorporate millet into your breakfast with a hot bowl of millet porridge. Additionally, you can use millet or millet flour to cook falafel, bread or croquettes.
Summary: Animal and human studies have found that millet may decrease blood triglycerides, inflammation and blood sugar.
Oats are very healthy. They also stand out as one of the best sources of beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber with advantages for health.
A review of 28 studies found that beta-glucan effectively decreased both "bad" LDL and total cholesterol without affecting "good" HDL cholesterol (14).
1/4 cup (39 grams) of dry oats provides 4 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein. It also provides phosphorus, magnesium and B vitamins, as well (17).
Although oats are naturally gluten-free, many brands of oats contain gluten due to contamination from how they are grown and processed.
If you have celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity, be sure to look for oats labeled as certified gluten-free.
A hot bowl of oatmeal is the most popular way to enjoy oats, but you can also add oats to pancakes, granola bars or parfaits for extra fiber and nutrients.
Summary: Oats contain beta-glucan, which may decrease blood cholesterol and help regulate blood sugar levels.
Despite its name, buckwheat is a grain-like seed that is gluten-free and has no relation to wheat.
It provides plenty of antioxidants, including high amounts of two specific types: rutin and quercetin (18).
Eating buckwheat may also help reduce some risk factors for heart disease.
In one study, buckwheat intake was associated with lower total and "bad" LDL cholesterol plus a higher ratio of "good" HDL to total cholesterol (21).
Another study had similar findings, showing that those who ate buckwheat had a lower risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high blood sugar (22).
One cup (170 grams) of buckwheat delivers 17 grams of fiber, 23 grams of protein and more than 90 percent of the magnesium, copper and manganese you need for the entire day (23).
Try soba noodles made from buckwheat as a gluten-free swap for traditional pasta. Or, use buckwheat to add a bit of crunch to soups, salads or even veggie burgers.
Summary: Buckwheat is rich in antioxidants and has been associated with reductions in heart disease risk factors, such as blood cholesterol levels.
Amaranth has a rich history as one of the staple foods for the Inca, Maya and Aztec civilizations. Moreover, it is a highly nutritious grain with some impressive health benefits (24).
A 2014 study found that the compounds in amaranth were effective in blocking inflammation in both humans and mice by preventing the activation of a pathway that triggers inflammation (25).
Thanks to its high fiber content, amaranth may also decrease several heart disease risk factors.
In fact, one animal study found that amaranth seeds decreased both blood triglycerides and "bad" LDL cholesterol levels (26).
One cup (246 grams) of cooked amaranth contains 5 grams of fiber plus 9 grams of protein. It also meets 29 percent of your daily iron needs and contains a good amount of magnesium, phosphorus and manganese (27).
You can use amaranth as a substitute for other grains, such as rice or couscous. Amaranth that has been cooked and then chilled can also be used in place of cornstarch as a thickening agent for soups, jellies or sauces.
Summary: Some studies show that amaranth may be effective in reducing inflammation and reducing several risk factors for heart disease.
As the smallest grain in the world,
teff is a tiny but powerful grain.
Despite being just 1/100 the size of a kernel of wheat, teff packs a nutritional punch.
One cup (252 grams) of cooked teff contains 10 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber. It also provides plenty of B vitamins, especially thiamin (34).
For gluten-free baking, try substituting teff in part or in whole for wheat flour. Teff can also be mixed into chili, made into porridge or used as a natural way to thicken dishes.
Summary: Teff is the smallest grain in the world but is high in fiber and protein. Both these nutrients are essential to health and come with many benefits.
Corn, or maize, is among the most popular gluten-free cereal grains consumed around the world.
In addition to being high in fiber, corn is also one of the few foods containing the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, plant pigments that act as antioxidants (35).
One study found that those with a high intake of carotenoids had a 43 percent lower risk of age-related macular degeneration compared to those with a low intake (37).
1/2 cup (83 grams) of yellow corn contains 6 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein. It's also high in magnesium, vitamin B6, thiamin, manganese and selenium (38).
Corn can be boiled, grilled or roasted for a healthy side dish to a well-balanced meal. Enjoy it right off the cob or add it to a salad, soup or casserole.
Summary: Corn is high in fiber and a good source of lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoids that are associated with a decreased risk of eye disease.
Although brown and white rice come from the same grain, white rice has had the bran and germ of the grain removed during processing.
Brown rice thus has more fiber and a higher amount of many micronutrients, making it one of the healthiest gluten-free grains around.
Both varieties of rice are gluten-free, but studies show that replacing white rice with brown rice comes with added health benefits.
One cup (195 grams) of brown rice contains 4 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein. It also provides a good portion of your magnesium and selenium needs for the day (42).
Brown rice makes a delicious side dish all on its own or can be combined with vegetables and a lean source of protein to create a filling meal.
Summary: Brown rice is high in fiber and associated with a decreased risk of diabetes, weight gain and heart disease when used in place of white rice.
The Bottom Line
When you have celiac disease or a sensitivity to gluten, following a gluten-free diet can be challenging.
However, there are plenty of gluten-free options available to replace wheat.
From providing antioxidants to reducing the risk of disease, these nutritious gluten-free grains can be incredibly beneficial to your health.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Authority Nutrition.
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By Daisy Simmons
1. Stay Informed<p>A first order of business in pet evacuation planning is to understand and be ready for the possible threats in your area. Visit <a href="https://www.ready.gov/be-informed" target="_blank">Ready.gov</a> to learn more about preparing for potential disasters such as floods, hurricanes, and wildfires. Then pay attention to related updates by tuning <a href="http://www.weather.gov/nwr/" target="_blank">NOAA Weather Radio</a> to your local emergency station or using the <a href="https://www.fema.gov/mobile-app" target="_blank">FEMA app</a> to get National Weather Service alerts.</p>
2. Ensure Your Pet is Easily Identifiable<p><span>Household pets, including indoor cats, should wear collars with ID tags that have your mobile phone number. </span><a href="https://www.avma.org/microchipping-animals-faq" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Microchipping</a><span> your pets will also improve your chances of reunion should you become separated. Be sure to add an emergency contact for friends or relatives outside your immediate area.</span></p><p>Additionally, use <a href="https://secure.aspca.org/take-action/order-your-pet-safety-pack" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">'animals inside' door/window stickers</a> to show rescue workers how many pets live there. (If you evacuate with your pets, quickly write "Evacuated" on the sticker so first responders don't waste time searching for them.)</p>
3. Make a Pet Evacuation Plan<p> "No family disaster plan is complete without including your pets and all of your animals," says veterinarian Heather Case in <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9NRJkFKAm4" target="_blank">a video</a> produced by the American Veterinary Medical Association.</p><p>It's important to determine where to take your pet in the event of an emergency.</p><p>Red Cross shelters and many other emergency shelters allow only service animals. Ask your vet, local animal shelters, and emergency management officials for information on local and regional animal sheltering options.</p><p>For those with access to the rare shelter that allows pets, CDC offers <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/emergencies/pets-in-evacuation-centers.html" target="_blank">tips on what to expect</a> there, including potential health risks and hygiene best practices.</p><p>Beyond that, talk with family or friends outside the evacuation area about potentially hosting you and/or your pet if you're comfortable doing so. Search for pet-friendly hotel or boarding options along key evacuation routes.</p><p>If you have exotic pets or a mix of large and small animals, you may need to identify multiple locations to shelter them.</p><p>For other household pets like hamsters, snakes, and fish, the SPCA recommends that if they normally live in a cage, they should be transported in that cage. If the enclosure is too big to transport, however, transfer them to a smaller container temporarily. (More on that <a href="https://www.spcai.org/take-action/emergency-preparedness/evacuation-how-to-be-pet-prepared" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">here</a>.)</p><p>For any pet, a key step is to establish who in your household will be the point person for gathering up pets and bringing their supplies. Keep in mind that you may not be home when disaster strikes, so come up with a Plan B. For example, you might form a buddy system with neighbors with pets, or coordinate with a trusted pet sitter.</p>
4. Prepare a Pet Evacuation Kit<p>Like the emergency preparedness kit you'd prepare for humans, assemble basic survival items for your pets in a sturdy, easy-to-grab container. Items should include:</p><ul><li>Water, food, and medicine to last a week or two;</li><li>Water, food bowls, and a can opener if packing wet food;</li><li>Litter supplies for cats (a shoebox lined with a plastic bag and litter may work);</li><li>Leashes, harnesses, or vehicle restraints if applicable;</li><li>A <a href="https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/pet-first-aid-supplies-checklist" target="_blank">pet first aid kit</a>;</li><li>A sturdy carrier or crate for each cat or dog. In addition to easing transport, these may serve as your pet's most familiar or safe space in an unfamiliar environment;</li><li>A favorite toy and/or blanket;</li><li>If your pet is prone to anxiety or stress, the American Kennel Club suggests adding <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/create-emergency-evacuation-plan-dog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">stress-relieving items</a> like an anxiety vest or calming sprays.</li></ul><p>In the not-unlikely event that you and your pet have to shelter in different places, your kit should also include:</p><ul><li>Detailed information including contact information for you, your vet, and other emergency contacts;</li><li>A list with phone numbers and addresses of potential destinations, including pet-friendly hotels and emergency boarding facilities near your planned evacuation routes, plus friends or relatives in other areas who might be willing to host you or your pet;</li><li>Medical information including vaccine records and a current rabies vaccination tag;</li><li>Feeding notes including portions and sizes in case you need to leave your pet in someone else's care;</li><li>A photo of you and your pet for identification purposes.</li></ul>
5. Be Ready to Evacuate at Any Time<p>It's always wise to be prepared, but stay especially vigilant in high-risk periods during fire or hurricane season. Practice evacuating at different times of day. Make sure your grab-and-go kit is up to date and in a convenient location, and keep leashes and carriers by the exit door. You might even stow a thick pillowcase under your bed for middle-of-the-night, dash-out emergencies when you don't have time to coax an anxious pet into a carrier. If forecasters warn of potential wildfire, a hurricane, or other dangerous conditions, bring outdoor pets inside so you can keep a close eye on them.</p><p>As with any emergency, the key is to be prepared. As the American Kennel Club points out, "If you panic, it will agitate your dog. Therefore, <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/create-emergency-evacuation-plan-dog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">pet disaster preparedness</a> will not only reduce your anxiety but will help reduce your pet's anxiety too."</p>
Evacuating Horses and Other Farm Animals<p>The same basic principles apply for evacuating horses and most other livestock. Provide each with some form of identification. Ensure that adequate food, water, and medicine are available. And develop a clear plan on where to go and how to get there.</p><p>Sheltering and transporting farm animals requires careful coordination, from identifying potential shelter space at fairgrounds, racetracks, or pastures, to ensuring enough space is available in vehicles and trailers – not to mention handlers and drivers on hand to support the effort.</p><p>For most farm animals, the Red Cross advises that you consider precautionary evacuation when a threat seems imminent but evacuation orders haven't yet been announced. The American Veterinary Medical Association has <a href="https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/large-animals-and-livestock-disasters" target="_blank">more information</a>.</p>
Bottom Line: If You Need to Evacuate, So Do Your Pets<p>As the Humane Society warns, pets left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost, or killed. Plan ahead to make sure you can safely evacuate your entire household – furry members included.</p>
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