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There is a lot of info in the media asking people to go gluten free. That means to avoid any food that has gluten in it. That includes whole wheat, wheat flour, maida, rava, barley, rye and their products.
So if you have decided to go gluten free, options other than rice are available that can be easily included in your daily diet. Let's explore some of the options that we have.
India is a diverse country, diversity exists in terms of its food habits as well. Various traditional grains are grown in different parts of India that are not only gluten free but at the sametime a huge storehouse of a number of nutrients.
Benefits: Millets are super grains. Being non-glutinous, millets are safe for people suffering from gluten allergy and celiac disease. They are non-acid forming, easy to digest and non-allergenic.
Millets have potential for protection against age-onset degenerative diseases. Consumption of millets reduces risk of heart disease, protects from diabetes, improves digestive system, lowers the risk of cancer, detoxifies the body, increases immunity in respiratory health, increases energy levels and improves muscular and neural systems and are protective against several degenerative diseases such as metabolic syndrome and Parkinson’s disease.
Usage: If you are trying out millets for the first time, the best way is to incorporate them in making fermented food like idli/dosa/dhokla. It can also be taken as porridge or as a roti in replacement of wheat based rotis.
Benefits: Oats are unique among the whole grains. The consumption of oatmeal and oat bran, even for a short period of time, has been shown in most studies to reduce total plasma cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol levels, the main risk factors for Coronary heart disease
This is mainly attributed to β-glucan, the soluble fibre content of oats. They also contain one-third more protein, nearly four times more fat, and have less starch as compared to other cereal grains.
Usage: Oats are best used to make porridges/smoothies in combination with dairy or fruits. A good option is to go for less processed oats like rolled oats or steel cut oats to get maximum nutrition as compared to instant oats.
Benefits: If you are looking for a one pot continental meal, quinoa is your choice. Although it is not local to the Indian markets, it has been gaining popularity for being a complete protein containing all the essential amino acids required by the body. Protein content (expressed as g/100 g edible matter) of quinoa seeds is between 13.1% and 16.7%. These values are higher than those of rice, barley, corn, and rye. It is known that quinoa has considerably positive effects on metabolic, cardiovascular, and gastrointestinal health in humans.
Usage: Quinoa can be cooked and used along with vegetables as a replacement for rice. It can also be used as a protein source for salads.
4. Amaranth (rajgira)
Benefits: Amaranth grain is a highly nutritional grain with a superior amount of proteins when compared to true cereals. The health benefits attributed include decreasing plasma cholesterol levels, stimulating the immune system, exerting an antitumor activity, reducing blood glucose levels and improving conditions of hypertension and anaemia. In addition, it has been reported to possess anti-allergic and antioxidant activities.
Usage: Most commonly consumed during the fasting months especially in North India, amaranth is gaining popularity in other states as well due to its gluten free nature. The flour of amaranth can be used to make rotis or even cakes and cookies. Amaranth seeds can be popped and used to make ladoos/chikkis.
5. Buckwheat (kuttu)
Benefits: Buckwheat grain is a highly nutritional food component that has been shown to provide a wide range of beneficial effects. Health benefits attributed to BW include plasma cholesterol level reduction, neuroprotection, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic effects, and improvement of hypertension conditions.
Usage: Kuttu ka atta is again used during the fasting period, in the form of rotis/pooris/pakodas/dosa etc. It can be used as a porridge too.
6. Water chestnut seeds (Singhara)
Benefits: Water chestnuts are a good source of antioxidants that protects our body from free radicals.The essential substances present in singhara plant make it ideal for combating cough and providing instant relief from throat issues
Water chestnut has been found to possess analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, antimicrobial, cytotoxic, antiulcer, neuroprotective, and immunomodulatory activity. They contain about 74 percent of water and just 9 grams of carbohydrates, making them a good low calorie option.
Usage: Seeds can be eaten raw or even cooked. It is generally a winter vegetable but it can be stored for a long period of time by converting it into flour. The flour can be used to make parathas, pooris etc.
Owing to so many super seeds available in the market, we have a variety of options to choose from the grains that are gluten free, highly nutritious with various health benefits. No matter what grain you are looking for, eating these whole grains can affect the quality of your life and help in preventing various diseases.
Understanding the needs of the people, Nutty Yogi has come out with a variety of gluten free options.