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What Are the Different Types of Gluten-Free Grains?

There are a number of gluten-free grains available to people who suffer from celiac disease, have a wheat allergy, or simply want to eat a wider variety of whole grains in their diet. Gluten-free grains include corn and rice as well as less common grains such as amaranth and teff. Oats are a type of grain that may be gluten-free but are usually contaminated with the protein.

One of the most common types of gluten-free grains is corn. Corn can be eaten on its own, straight off of the cob, or added to soups and stews. When ground into flour, it can be used to prepare corn tortillas. Cornstarch can be used as a thickener instead of wheat flour.

Rice is another common gluten-free grain. The grain is common around the world and comes in many varieties, from short to long grain and can be brown, red, or white in color. Like corn, rice can be eaten on its own or ground into a flour. While brown rice has more fiber than white rice, white rice makes a less gritty and more palatable flour. Rice bran can be substituted for wheat or oat bran in many recipes. Rice is also used to make drinks and frozen treats.

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Quinoa and amaranth are two ancient gluten-free grains. Both are very high in protein and other nutrients as well as fiber. The grains can be purchased as whole seeds and prepared much as a person would cook rice. Amaranth or quinoa porridge is a suitable replacement for oatmeal for breakfast. Both grains can also be ground into flour and used in baked goods.

Teff is another ancient gluten-free grain that is slightly less common than quinoa or amaranth. It is commonly used to prepare injera, a thin, pancake-like bread from Ethiopia. Teff is related to millet, which was one of the first gluten-free grains to be cultivated. Millet is the small seed from a wild grass. It's usually used as a cereal grain and is also found in bird seed.

Oats may or may not be gluten-free grains. On their own, oats do not contain any gluten. As the grain is typically processed in factories that also process wheat and other gluten-containing grains, oats are typically considered to be contaminated by gluten and not safe for those with celiac disease. Some companies do strive to produce uncontaminated oats, so a person concerned about gluten can look for oats that promise to be gluten safe.

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