Even if you’re not looking to sidestep gluten, these gluten free grains could help boost your energy, improve your skin, prevent heart disease and even reduce your risk of cancer.
Produced by the amaranth plant, amaranth is not technically a grain. Still, it has nearly twice as much protein as brown rice and is a good source of cancer-fighting selenium. One serving has 4g of fat – none of it saturated and 29% of your iron RDA.
It can be roasted, popped, boiled, and added to other dishes, making it a versatile store-cupboard item. Try making amaranth muesli by popping seeds in a hot pan for 1-2 minutes. Add fruit, milk and serve.
Like amaranth, quinoa is a pseudograin and is actually a seed from a vegetable related to swiss chard, spinach and beets. It is low GI, so you’ll dodge any blood sugar spikes and energy dips, and it also provides all nine essential amino acids for improving skin elasticity. One serving has 28% of your daily bone-building phosphorus needs.
Begin by soaking the quinoa in water for about 15 minutes and then rinse. Next add 1 part quinoa to 1.5 parts liquid, before covering and cooking for 30-35 minutes on a low heat. Make a protein-packed quinoa salad by combining it with lean chicken pieces, tomatoes, avocado, spring onions and mint leaves.
While many people think buckwheat is a cereal grain, it is actually the seed of a plant that is related to rhubarb. A top source of blood pressure-lowering magnesium, buckwheat is rich in flavonoids like rutin, which helps reduce LDL cholesterol. One serving of buckwheat (soba) noodles has just 113 calories and 21% of your RDA for skin-friendly manganese.
Like amaranth, buckwheat can be toasted or you can add 1 part buckwheat to 2 parts water, bring to the boil and then simmer until tender. Try using soba noodles to make a soup by combining cooked noodles with stir-fried meat and vegetables, boiling water and a tablespoon of miso.
Available in a variety of colours from white and red to dark brown, teff is a fine grain originating in Ethiopia. It has the highest content of bone-building calcium of all the grains and is rich in dietary fibre, which can help prevent those mid-morning cravings.
In Ethiopia, it is usually ground into flour and fermented to make the spongy, sourdough bread known as injera – the edible tear-and-share serving plate used in most Ethiopian restaurants. For a gluten-free morning treat, try revamping your porridge by replacing equal amounts of oats with teff.
Most of these gluten free grains can be found in the free from section of large supermarkets but for a wide range of gluten free grains that you can buy in bulk try natureshealthbox.co.uk