Celiac disease is a hereditary autoimmune disease affecting the ingestion of gluten – a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye – and triggering an immune response that attacks the small intestine. The estimated 1 in 100 people who are diagnosed with celiac disease can suffer from symptoms ranging from diarrhea, bloating, and stomach pains to even being at higher risk of developing coronary artery disease or small bowel cancers.
Since those who have celiac disease should avoid all gluten, it can be challenging to meet daily recommendations for grain foods. Grains are an essential part of a healthy diet as they’re a source of carbohydrates, fiber, and other essential vitamins and minerals. Thankfully, there are plenty of gluten-free grain options that also deliver these important nutrients!
Quinoa has quickly become a favorite gluten-free grain due to its versatility, as well as its protein and fiber content. A plant-based food, quinoa is considered a complete protein because it contains all nine essential amino acids.
One of the most consumed grains around the world, corn is high in fiber and can decrease the risk of eye disease. Whether eaten off the cob or out of a can, corn can be a smart staple grain food across a variety of meals.
A good source of protein and soluble fiber, oats have been found to help decrease bad cholesterol and help lower blood sugar as part of a balanced diet. While oats are naturally gluten-free, some may contain trace amounts of gluten due to cross contamination during harvesting or packaging, so it’s best to always check a product’s packaging to be sure it’s labeled gluten-free.
Buckwheat is a grain-like seed rich in antioxidants and associated with reducing heart disease risk factors such as lowering high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar. Noodles made from buckwheat are a great gluten-free pasta alternative.
Brown rice is rich in fiber and micronutrients such as magnesium, potassium, riboflavin, and niacin and can help decrease the risks of weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease. Brown rice is a quick and easy gluten-free grain that pairs well with numerous foods.
With all these healthy gluten-free choices, celiac disease doesn’t have to stop you from enjoying the health benefits of grains!