The 6 Best Types of Gluten-Free Pasta and Noodles
Whether you're following a gluten-free diet due to celiac disease, a sensitivity to gluten or personal preference, you don't have to give up your favorite dishes.
Though traditional pasta is typically made using wheat flour, there are plenty of gluten-free alternatives available.
Here are 6 of the best types of gluten-free pasta and noodles.
1. Brown Rice Pasta
Brown rice pasta is one of the most popular varieties of gluten-free pasta due to its mild flavor and chewy texture — both of which work well as a substitute for most traditional pasta dishes.
Plus, research shows that the bran found in brown rice is loaded with antioxidants, powerful compounds that can help fight oxidative damage to cells and promote better health (3 Trusted Source).
Some studies have found that eating brown rice can increase antioxidant levels in the blood and may aid in preventing chronic conditions like diabetes, cancer and heart disease (4 Trusted Source, 5 Trusted Source).
Brown rice pasta is a good source of fiber, minerals and antioxidants that can optimize health and prevent chronic disease. Its mild flavor and chewy texture make it a great substitute for most traditional types of pasta.
2. Shirataki Noodles
Shirataki noodles are made from glucomannan, a type of fiber extracted from the root of the konjac plant.
Because the fiber passes through your intestine undigested, shirataki noodles are essentially free of calories and carbs.
They have a gelatinous texture and little to no taste but take on the flavors of other ingredients when cooked.
However, keep in mind that shirataki noodles contribute almost no calories or nutrients to your diet.
For this reason, it's especially important to load up on healthy toppings for your pasta, such as heart-healthy fats, veggies and protein.
Shirataki noodles are made from glucomannan, a type of fiber that's calorie-free and can help promote weight loss, reduce cholesterol levels, regulate blood sugar and relieve constipation.
3. Chickpea Pasta
Chickpea pasta is a newer type of gluten-free pasta that has recently garnered a good deal of attention among health-conscious consumers.
It's very similar to regular pasta but with a hint of chickpea flavor and a slightly more chewy texture.
It's also a high-protein, high-fiber alternative, packing about 13 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber into each two-ounce (57-gram) serving (11 Trusted Source).
In fact, one small study in 12 women found that eating one cup (200 grams) of chickpeas before a meal helped reduce blood sugar levels, appetite and calorie consumption later in the day, compared to a control meal (15 Trusted Source).
Chickpea pasta is high in protein and fiber, which may aid weight control and help improve bowel function, cholesterol levels and blood sugar management.
4. Quinoa Pasta
Quinoa pasta is a gluten-free substitute for regular pasta that's typically made from quinoablended with other grains, such as corn and rice. It's often described as having a slightly grainy texture with a nutty flavor.
Its main ingredient, quinoa, is a popular whole grain favored for its rich nutrient profile, mild flavor and extensive health benefits.
Quinoa is also a good source of several other important vitamins and minerals, including manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, folate, copper and iron (19).
Plus, quinoa pasta is rich in fiber, providing about 3 grams of fiber in each 1/4-cup (43-gram) serving of dry pasta (20 Trusted Source).
Studies show that fiber can slow the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream to regulate blood sugar levels, improve digestive health and promote feelings of fullness to prevent weight gain (21 Trusted Source, 22 Trusted Source, 23 Trusted Source).
Quinoa pasta is made from quinoa and other grains, such as corn and rice. It's a good source of protein, fiber and micronutrients and may be beneficial for digestive health, blood sugar control and weight maintenance.
5. Soba Noodles
Soba noodles are a type of pasta made from buckwheat flour, a plant commonly cultivated for its nutritious grain-like seeds.
They have a nutty taste with a chewy, grainy texture and are available in many different shapes and sizes.
Soba noodles are lower in calories than many types of traditional pasta but still supply a good amount of protein and fiber.
A two-ounce (56-gram) serving of cooked soba noodles contains about 7 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber and a good amount of several important micronutrients like manganese and thiamine (24 Trusted Source, 25).
Soba noodles also have a lower glycemic index than other starches, meaning that eating soba noodles won't increase your blood sugar levels as much (28 Trusted Source).
However, note that some manufacturers combine buckwheat flour with other types of flour when producing this type of noodles.
Be sure to check the ingredients label carefully and avoid any products that contain wheat flour or white flour if you have celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity.
Soba noodles are a type of noodle made from buckwheat flour. Eating buckwheat has been linked to improved heart health, weight regulation and blood sugar levels.
6. Multigrain Pasta
Many types of gluten-free pasta are made using a blend of different grains, including corn, millet, buckwheat, quinoa, rice and amaranth.
The nutritional value of these pasta varieties can vary significantly based on what types of grains are used. They may contain anywhere between 4–9 grams of protein and 1–6 grams of fiber per 2-ounce (57-gram) serving (29 Trusted Source, 30 Trusted Source, 31 Trusted Source).
For the most part, multigrain pasta can be a good alternative to regular pasta for those with celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity.
Multigrain pasta is also often closer in taste and texture to traditional pasta. Just a simple swap can make all your favorite recipes gluten-free.
However, it's important to pay close attention to the ingredients label and steer clear of products loaded with fillers, additives and gluten-containing ingredients.
Multigrain pasta is made from grains like corn, millet, buckwheat, quinoa, rice and amaranth. It's often a close match for regular pasta in terms of taste and texture, but the nutrient profile can vary based on its ingredients.
The Bottom Line
Though pasta may have once been considered completely off the table for those on a gluten-free diet, there are now plenty of options available.
Be sure to opt for products that are certified gluten-free and double check the ingredients label to avoid cross-contamination and adverse side effects.
Additionally, keep intake in moderation and pair your pasta with other nutritious ingredients to maximize potential health benefits and maintain a well-rounded diet.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.
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It's a different kind of World Environment Day this year. In prior years, it might have been enough to plant a tree, spend some extra time in the garden, or teach kids the importance of recycling. This year we have heavier tasks at hand. It's been months since we've been able to spend sufficient time outside, and as we lustfully watch the beauty of a new spring through our kitchen's glass windows, we have to decide how we'll interact with the natural world on our release, and how we can prevent, or be equipped to handle, future threats against our wellbeing.
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By Lindsey Schneider, Joshua Sbicca and Stephanie Malin
The SARS-CoV-2 virus is novel, but pandemic threats to indigenous peoples are anything but new. Diseases like measles, smallpox and the Spanish flu have decimated Native American communities ever since the arrival of the first European colonizers.
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History Reverberates on Native Lands<p>Native communities in North America have been disrupted and displaced for centuries. Many face long-standing food and water <a href="http://www.nativepartnership.org/site/DocServer/2017-PWNA-NPRA-Food-Insecurity-Project-Grow.pdf?docID=7106" target="_blank">inequities</a> that are further complicated by this pandemic.</p><p>On the Navajo reservation, which covers more than 27,000 square miles in Arizona, Utah and New Mexico, 76% of households already <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/235390130_High_levels_of_household_food_insecurity_on_the_Navajo_Nation" target="_blank">have trouble affording enough healthy food</a>, and the nearest grocery store is often hours away. COVID-related restrictions have further curtailed access to food supplies.</p><p>Clean water for basic sanitary measures like hand-washing is also scarce. Native Americans are <a href="http://uswateralliance.org/sites/uswateralliance.org/files/Closing%20the%20Water%20Access%20Gap%20in%20the%20United%20States_DIGITAL.pdf" target="_blank">19 times more likely</a> to lack indoor plumbing than whites in the U.S. Nearly one-third of Navajo households <a href="https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/coronavirus-hits-indian-country-hard-exposing-infrastructure-disparities-n1186976" target="_blank">lack access to running water</a>.</p><p>Many <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6915e3.htm" target="_blank">health issues</a> that can increase COVID-19 mortality rates occur at high levels among Native Americans. These <a href="http://www.ncai.org/news/articles/2020/03/18/the-national-congress-of-american-indians-calls-for-more-attention-to-covid-19-impacts-to-indian-country" target="_blank">underlying</a> and <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30893-X" target="_blank">preexisting</a> conditions – things like hypertension, diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease – are <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6913e2.htm" target="_blank">linked to diet</a> and stem from <a href="https://www.oupress.com/books/15107980/indigenous-food-sovereignty-in-the-united-sta" target="_blank">disruption and replacement</a> of Indigenous food systems.</p>
High Exposure Rates<p>These factors have clear health impacts. On the Navajo reservation, for instance, through May 27, 2020, <a href="https://www.navajo-nsn.gov/News%20Releases/OPVP/2020/May/FOR%20IMMEDIATE%20RELEASE%20-%201620%20recoveries_102%20new%20cases%20of%20COVID-19_and%20one%20more%20death%20reported.pdf" target="_blank">4,944 people</a> out of a population of 173,000 had tested positive for COVID-19, and 159 had died.</p><p>This infection rate per capita exceeds those in hot spots such as <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/alexandrasternlicht/2020/05/19/navajo-nation-has-most-coronavirus-infections-per-capita-in-us-beating-new-york-new-jersey/#11a4fac08b10" target="_blank">New York and New Jersey</a>. Importantly, however, it may also reflect a much <a href="https://www.sltrib.com/news/2020/04/19/navajo-nation-has-higher/" target="_blank">more proactive approach to testing</a> on reservations than in many other jurisdictions.</p><p>The fact that elderly people are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 could worsen the pandemic's effects in Indian Country. Elders are the <a href="https://ais.washington.edu/research/publications/spirits-our-whaling-ancestors" target="_blank">keepers of traditional knowledge, tribal languages and culture</a> – legacies whose loss already threatens the persistence of indigenous communities.</p><p>Elders also play key roles in preserving traditional plant and medicine knowledge. In the absence of COVID-19 interventions from Western medicine, many elders have been called on to perform healing practices, which increases their exposure risk.</p>
Little Help From Federal and State Governments<p>Many tribal members rely on the federal government's <a href="https://www.ihs.gov/" target="_blank">Indian Health Service</a> for health care. But <a href="https://theconversation.com/tribal-leaders-face-great-need-and-dont-have-enough-resources-to-respond-to-the-coronavirus-pandemic-134372" target="_blank">lack of capacity</a> at the agency has hampered its response. Budget shortfalls, <a href="https://indiancountrytoday.com/news/report-grossly-inaccurate-data-used-to-divvy-up-relief-funds-for-tribes-9qkkHmeXj0uhRC42mXYqCA" target="_blank">inaccurate data</a>, the challenges of providing <a href="https://indiancountrytoday.com/news/coronavirus-risk-is-compounded-by-the-rural-DC-rMTUzzE6WDGee8jbENQ" target="_blank">rural health care</a> and ongoing personnel shortages in IHS clinics are compounded by staff being <a href="https://navajotimes.com/reznews/dikos-ntsaaigii-doodaa-nation-musters-defense-against-covid-19/" target="_blank">pulled away</a> to fight the virus in large cities.</p><p>And while many states have raised frustrations with the Trump administration's unwillingness to distribute protective supplies from the <a href="https://www.vox.com/recode/2020/4/3/21206170/us-emergency-stockpile-jared-kushner-almost-empty-coronavirus-medical-supplies-ventilators" target="_blank">dwindling national stockpile</a>, IHS and tribal health care authorities <a href="https://www.azpm.org/p/home-articles-news/2020/3/17/167874-bill-calls-for-more-tribal-community-access-to-federal-stockpile-of-medical-supplies/" target="_blank">never had access</a> to the stockpile at all.</p><p>Although the federal government has begun <a href="https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2020/05/22/hhs-announces-500-million-distribution-to-tribal-hospitals-clinics-and-urban-health-centers.html" target="_blank">distributing relief funds</a> to IHS agencies, there have been serious problems with the accompanying supplies. The Navajo Nation has received <a href="https://www.indianz.com/News/2020/05/22/propublica-former-trump-aide-provided-fa.asp" target="_blank">faulty masks</a>, and a Seattle Native health center asked for tests but <a href="https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/native-american-health-center-asked-covid-19-supplies-they-got-n1200246" target="_blank">received body bags instead</a>.</p><p>Meanwhile, federally imposed limits on tribal sovereignty have obstructed tribal governments' efforts to deal with the pandemic themselves. Federal and state governments are <a href="https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/makah-tribe-fights-coronavirus-with-self-reliance-and-extreme-isolation/" target="_blank">challenging tribes' jurisdictional authority</a> to <a href="https://www.azfamily.com/news/mayor-of-page-accused-of-racist-social-media-comment-toward-navajo-nation-president/article_e2e6efd6-8db4-11ea-a8a2-7f6976d702f6.html" target="_blank">close borders to tourists</a> who may carry the virus. South Dakota's governor has <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/may/14/sioux-coronavirus-roadblocks-south-dakota-governor" target="_blank">threatened legal action</a> against two tribes who set up checkpoints to monitor incoming traffic on their reservations.</p>
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Environmental Injustices on Native Land<p>Energy development and resource extraction have had <a href="https://www.haymarketbooks.org/books/898-all-our-relations" target="_blank">disproportionate impacts</a> on tribes for many years. Today, many Native American leaders worry that ongoing energy production – <a href="https://www.ncsl.org/research/labor-and-employment/covid-19-essential-workers-in-the-states.aspx" target="_blank">an "essential" activity under federal guidelines</a> will bring outsiders into close contact with reservation communities, worsening COVID risks.</p><p>The owners of the Keystone XL oil pipeline have announced that they intend to continue construction, which will bring an influx of workers along the proposed route through Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. The Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Dakota and Fort Belknap Indian community in Montana have filed for a <a href="https://www.narf.org/keystone-xl/" target="_blank">temporary restraining order</a>, and a key permit for the pipeline was <a href="https://www.democracynow.org/2020/4/16/headlines/us_judge_revokes_crucial_permit_for_keystone_xl_pipeline" target="_blank">revoked in April 2020</a>, but work continues at the U.S.-Canada border.</p><p>Construction is accelerating on the <a href="https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/border-issues/2020/03/17/border-patrol-waives-laws-border-wall-construction-southern-arizona/5063618002/" target="_blank">southern border wall</a>, which bisects the <a href="http://www.tonation-nsn.gov/" target="_blank">Tohono O'odham reservation</a> in Arizona and Mexico. The Trump administration has <a href="https://www.thenation.com/article/politics/border-coronavirus-military-immigration/" target="_blank">increased patrols at the border</a>, despite the tribe's concern that the patrols' presence is <a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/04/06/coronavirus-cbp-160-cases-covid-19-officers-agents/2958736001/" target="_blank">spreading coronavirus</a> on the reservation.</p><p>And in Bristol Bay, Alaska, a salmon fishing season that brings in thousands of temporary workers is <a href="https://indiancountrytoday.com/news/it-s-hard-when-you-love-something-xlS49l2N20KZjqumwfzZfQ" target="_blank">set to open in June</a> because the federal government has also deemed commercial fishing "<a href="https://www.cisa.gov/sites/default/files/publications/CISA-Guidance-on-Essential-Critical-Infrastructure-Workers-1-20-508c.pdf" target="_blank">essential critical infrastructure</a>." Many local Native villages depend on the fishery for income, but have nonetheless pleaded with state regulators to <a href="https://indiancountrytoday.com/news/urgent-calls-to-close-the-massive-bristol-bay-fishery-8lYsGkUeDUyCBW7FMwpSfA?fbclid=IwAR1710u4rQnriq_MgH2ueQxOFtfGiGiH8I2ZdJRCZS9f28Zl-JNkPLpnzZo" target="_blank">cancel the season</a>. The regional hospital has just four beds for possible COVID-19 patients.</p>
Bold Action in Native Communities<p>Native communities are taking decisive action to reduce the spread of COVID-19. They're imposing aggressive <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/09/us/coronavirus-navajo-nation.html" target="_blank">quarantine</a> measures like lockdowns, curfews and border closures. Communities are <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/mar/18/covidcoronavirus-native-american-lummi-nation-trailblazing-steps" target="_blank">ramping up health care capacity</a> and elder support services, and banishing nontribal members who <a href="https://rapidcityjournal.com/news/local/oglala-sioux-council-banishes-non-member-with-covid-19-from-reservation/article_60b665c3-9d1b-5d48-a576-51774e4fb41a.html" target="_blank">violate travel restrictions</a>.</p><p>Other strategies include helping hunters <a href="https://indiancountrytoday.com/news/ammo-fuel-for-hunters-to-feed-others-Ki3zK6du-ky-UogoB9-aNQ" target="_blank">provide traditional foods</a> to their communities, <a href="https://ndncollective.org/indigenizing-and-decolonizing-community-care-in-response-to-covid-19/" target="_blank">mobilizing to support tribal health care workers</a>, and <a href="https://www.ehn.org/coronavirus-native-americans-2645923635.html" target="_blank">linking the pandemic and the climate crisis</a>. Looking ahead to a post-COVID future, we believe one priority should be attending to <a href="http://www.beacon.org/As-Long-as-Grass-Grows-P1445.aspx" target="_blank">front-line environmental justice struggles</a> that center tribes' sovereignty to act on their own behalf at all times, not just during national crises.</p>
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