Everyone is celebrating quinoa as a grain alternative. But does it contain gluten?
The Short Answer:
Yes, quinoa is gluten-free.
The Long Answer:
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve likely heard someone talking about quinoa. It’s the grain alternative that is changing the lives of many gluten intolerant individuals all over the world. That’s because quinoa is a seed that can be prepared like a grain but contains absolutely no gluten. Quinoa is a pseudo-cereal, which means that it comes from a plant that produces seeds that are very much like grains but have different properties.
It is being touted as a safe alternative to wheat, rye, and barley. Quinoa can be cooked in the same way as rice and can replace rice in almost any recipe.
So, why has the world just suddenly figured out the awesome health benefits of Quinoa?
You can trace the popularity of quinoa all the way back to ancient Incan civilizations. Quinoa was known then as the “mother grain,” and its health benefits were celebrated with tradition and ceremony. In fact, Incan leaders would plant the first quinoa seed of the year using a golden shovel to showcase the importance of this plant.
Over time, people forgot about quinoa, and it became a crop grown mostly by peasants. It laid in obscurity for hundreds of years, until modern times where it has become a staple of the gluten-free diet, lining the shelves of health food stores all over the world.
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a name for proteins found in rye, wheat, barley, and triticale. Gluten functions as an edible adhesive, holding foods together and maintaining their shape.
Gluten can be dangerous for those with an autoimmune reaction known as celiac disease. Affected individuals could see heightened weight loss, vomiting, abdominal pain, bloating, persistent diarrhea or constipation, brain fog and a skin disease called dermatitis.
Gluten is also known to cause gut inflammation, which can lead to digested food making its way into the bloodstream through the intestines. As such, harmful viruses and bacteria that would have normally been eliminated by the digestive system could be let loose into the bloodstream.
Eliminating gluten from your diet can lead to easy weight loss and increased energy in individuals, which is why it has become such a popular diet trend.