The word that is often heard when someone speaks about dieting or eating healthy is gluten. Gluten has become the ugly stepchild of the food industry. Starting with the popularity of the Paleo diet and the ever present belief that gluten causes your belly to bloat, gluten is starting to be regulated to the back shelf. Quinoa, which is gluten free, is starting to take center stage.
The reason for this shift is because gluten is a combination of two proteins found mainly in cereal grains but more prominently in wheat and as a consequence of wheat products. It is responsible for giving dough its elastic and sticky texture. Doctors have known, however, that gluten is a horrible digestive irritant for people with celiac disease, a disorder of the autoimmune system. When they ingest gluten, they run the very real risk of damaging the wall of the small intestine. This can lead to long-term, serious health problems. Although there is no way to know for sure, many experts estimate that 1 out of a 100 people suffer from diets that include gluten. As a consequence, it naturally makes sense that gluten-free quinoa is rising in popularity.
Quinoa is also a great source of protein. It is highly recommended as a nutritious substitute for foods that contain gluten. As with all ideas nutritional, there are a few that wonder if a few of the properties of Quinoa can still cause digestive upset. Namely, it shares a protein with wheat called promilin and since promilin is hard to digest and can irritate some people celiac disease, some doctors make the leap that anything with promilin should be avoided. But there is little research to back this claim. The strong majority of opinions back quinoa as a super healthy alternative to wheat.
The next issue with gluten and quinoa is they way quinoa is processed. Although gluten free, if it is processed in a plant that also process other grains, especially wheat, the gluten free bonus of quinoa can be compromised. Organic Quinoa is less likely to be processed in plants that can contaminate, since it is hard to be certified organic and stricter guidelines are followed. In a recent study, researchers pulled items off of grocery store shelves and it was found that 41% of these products contained gluten. Cross contamination is a very real concern for anyone trying to eliminate gluten. The good news is most manufacturers and distributors of gluten free products will label their packages stating that the product was processed in a facility that did not include peanuts, wheat and egg products.To be sure, you can always check the company’s website, so you and your stomach can be sure that you receive all of the health benefits of Quinoa.
It has become easier for anyone trying to live a gluten-free life since the internet has hundreds of reliable sites offering healthful information and easy quinoa recipes. And since quinoa is delicious at every meal, including breakfast, you can easily start the switch to a healthier diet.