Living with celiac disease I know what a problem gluten can be.
Gluten, a protein in wheat, barley and rye can also be difficult to digest for even the healthiest among us.
Certain grains can be an issue for many of us whether we have:
- celiac disease
Whole grains offer us many health benefits which we may be concerned about losing if we need to limit or even eliminate them from our diet. There are health-promoting, disease-preventing, gluten-free options out there.
Whole Grain Alternatives
Have you heard about pseudo-grains or “alternative grains?”
These are all low-fat, cholesterol-free foods which are good sources of protein, carbohydrates and fiber.
Quinoa is my favorite.
It is actually a fruit seed and a complete protein, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids. It is non-acid forming with a nutty flavor, which is greatly enhanced when prepared with fresh herbs.
Quinoa is versatile and can be used like any other grain.
- B vitamins
- potassium, zinc, copper
Buckwheat is also a fruit seed and is not a member of the wheat family at all.
- magnesium, phosphorus, manganese
- smaller amounts of many other vitamins and minerals
It is especially good as a hot breakfast cereal.
Amaranth is in the same family of plants as quinoa, making them related! Amaranth is known nutritionally for being rich in the amino acid lysine and containing significant amounts of calcium, iron and magnesium.
Alternative Grain Health Benefits
All of these grain alternatives have certain nutrients in common, leading to similar health benefits.
These benefits include:
- lowering cholesterol levels
- stablilizing blood sugar levels/managing diabetes
The phytonutrient, antioxidant and fiber content found in these foods are protective against:
- heart disease
- breast cancer
- colon cancer
Fiber also contributes to:
- feeling full
- eating less (hopefully)
- weight management/weight loss
Do you suffer from migraines?
The high magnesium content in these foods relaxes the blood vessels, helping to alleviate the severity of these dreaded, sometimes incapacitating headaches.
Quinoa, buckwheat and amaranth’s nutrient profile, ease of use and unique flavors have made them much more mainstream and easier to find than in the past.
It’s comforting to know these delicious, healthy alternatives are now readily available.