Grains are a prevalent topic for individuals who need to be on a gluten-free diet. Unfortunately, the value of having whole grains that are gluten-free is often unaddressed. So, what about the grains?
This article will be outlining:
- the whole grain defined
- whole grain benefits
- possible nutritional consequences of being on a gluten-free diet
- amount of grains recommended daily
- a recent survey on the consumption of alternative grains within the celiac community
- a guide for storing and cooking gluten-free whole grains.
Whole Grains – A Definition as defined by The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating, refers to grains that are intact and whole, flaked or puffed, kibbled or coarsely milled, or ground as in some flour.
What About The Grains Benefits?
For years now, the benefits of having whole grains in your diet have been detailed. In 2010, researchers analyzed evidence about the health benefits related to whole grains and the role it plays in reducing the risk of disease.
In conclusion, the researchers decided there was significant evidence to back the fact that adequate ingestion of whole grains correlates with a reduced possibility of diseases which are chronic such as diabetes, cancer, and coronary heart disease.
The researchers analyzed, also, evidence supporting the role of grains to assist in the health of the gastrointestinal health and weight management.
Possible Nutritional Effects of a Gluten-free Diet
While it may be a trend for some people to go gluten-free, it is medically essential for individuals who have gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.
Likely results of a gluten free diet include raised intake of fat as a result of lowered consumption of gluten-free grains.
Fatty foods are often taken instead of the healthier option of grains. (Depending of course on whether you eat healthy or unhealthy fatty foods).
This may lead to lactose intolerance resulting from a low ingestion of phosphorous and calcium.
Second to lowered ingestion of grains, there is also a reduced intake of iron, zinc, fiber, folate, B12 and niacin (resulting from lacking fortified breakfast cereals).
Survey on the Consumption of Alternative Grains by Celiacs
At a celiac conference in 2010 at Columbo, Ohio, a survey was taken which provided a glimpse of the consumption of alternative grains amid 174 attendants.
This indicated that 80% of the population sampled, ate below half the recommended grain servings amount as suggested by the U.S. Department of Health’s Dietary Guidelines.
Only 1% of that same population ingested the daily amount recommended which is 6 servings daily.
Although this was not a random sample study it provokes individuals to think about their consumption of grains and the benefits to their health by doing as a result.
Tips to Identifying Whole Grains
The Whole Grains Council has established a plan to assist consumers more easily identify whole grains. Manufacturers willingly use the 100% Stamp (or Basic stamp) offer a convenient way to show the amount of whole grain that is in the product.
However, The Whole Grains Council shows consumers by images and descriptions.
A product displaying the 100% Stamp, indicates that the product has whole grains.
When the 100% stamp is used it shows that 16 grams (the minimum requirement)– which is a full serving – of whole grains per label served, for this 100% stamp product.
When a product shows a Basic Stamp, this means it has a minimum of 8 grams – a half serving – of whole grains. It may, however, carry a certain amount of refined grains.
Every Stamp also contains a number, showing how many whole grain grams make up each product serving.
Guide to Storing and Cooking
Check instructions on package as to whether grains need to be rinsed before cooking.
In a heavy saucepan, over heat, bring broth or water to the boil; add grains, and continue to boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover saucepan and cook according to instructions.
Remove from heat and let grain sit as suggested. If liquid evaporates prior to grain being cooked, add water as needed. When cooked drain excess liquid with a colander.
Season with salt, pepper and/or spices and herbs.
Grains that have been cooked can be refrigerated and should be used within up to four days. Place in freezer for longer storage. Grains that have not been cooked should be saved in the freezer or refrigerator.
Apart from saucepans, rice cookers are also a great tool for cooking different sorts of grains.