People worldwide consume rice in different forms, which is why it is considered a staple food. This nutritious grain has been in our diets for ages; however, lately, there have been misconceptions stating that rice contains gluten, so people who are health conscious should avoid eating rice.
This is not true since all natural forms of rice are gluten-free and contain starch, a carbohydrate form that our body needs. Today, we will discuss all the details about rice gluten and try to understand if all rice varieties are gluten-free.
What is Gluten?
Grains like rye, wheat, and barley contain two proteins, gliadin, and glutenin, which combine to form gluten. They have an elastic texture, making them a popular ingredient in processed foods, baked goods, pasta, and bread. Wheat flour and its forms in our daily diet pose a challenge for people who suffer from gluten intolerance.
When consumed in large quantities and over a long duration, these foods are believed to have side effects on your body, which you should be aware of, especially if you suffer from gluten sensitivity.
Effects of Gluten
1. Celiac disease
Individuals who have celiac disease must follow a gluten-free diet as this autoimmune disease gets triggered after consumption of gluten-containing foods and has hazardous effects on the small intestine. One may suffer from acidity, diarrhoea, weight loss, and other issues that may also affect the body’s capabilities to absorb nutrients from the food consumed.
2. Gluten sensitivity
A very popular term people have been discussing nowadays is gluten sensitivity, and it is believed to have similar symptoms to celiac disease. Scientifically, it is also termed as non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Bloating, fatigue, and diarrhoea are some common symptoms.
3. Irritable bowel syndrome
Consumption of gluten-containing grains has been linked to aggravated IBS in some people, which is defined as an intestine and stomach disorder. Inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, along with cramps and constipation, falls under the chronic condition which needs long-term treatment for management.
4. Wheat allergy
Some people cannot consume wheat in any form as they suffer from allergies wherein symptoms like itching, breathing difficulties, hives, etc appear. Such people have to follow a gluten-free diet lifelong.
5. Dermatitis herpetiformis
This skin condition is similar to celiac disease and causes blistering rashes, which are itchy and can cause discomfort. People suffering from this condition have to follow a dairy-free diet plan.
Is Rice Gluten Free?
All varieties of rice, including wild rice, are naturally gluten-free. However, you must be careful when buying processed or white rice flour from the market. As white rice flour may contain gluten contamination. They possess added gluten-containing components.
Most processed foods that claim to have rice mix usually contain small amounts of wheat or other gluten grains, leading to allergy after consumption.
People tend to think that they consume glutinous rice, which is wrong. Health experts recommend consuming all rice varieties and plain flour; however, they advise people to check out any processed or packaged food for gluten content before buying.
Which Type of Rice Contains Gluten?
None of the naturally grown varieties, including brown rice or red rice, contain gluten; hence, you can consume it without concerns. The only source of glutinous rice is processed rice mix or even brown rice flour with other contents.
Here are 3 main components of rice that you should be aware of:
- Bran: This is the outer layer of the rice grain, which is full of fiber, minerals, and vitamin B.
- Germ: The core of the grain, which is packed with nutrients, healthy fats, vitamins B and E, along with phytochemicals
- Endosperm: This component forms the major portion of the grain and is responsible for the sticky rice texture as it contains starch and some protein.
Gluten Content in Different Types of Rice
- White Rice: Basmati rice is the most popular white rice consumed on a large scale across different countries and contains no gluten. The long grain is loaded with all nutrients and can be used as a complete meal. You can consume this variety as Savory or sweet rice recipes, but evade rice paper since it comprises tapioca powder, which causes the rice to become glutinous.
- Brown Rice: This variety has recently become prevalent, apart from red rice and black rice, and health-conscious individuals prefer it due to its higher nutritional content.
- Wild Rice: Fewer people use wild rice compared to regular white rice. This rice grain variety contains more zinc, fiber, potassium, and essential amino acids but still needs to be sold at a significant commercial level.
Gluten-Free Rice Alternatives
If you have been gulping glutinous rice products and desire to substitute them with gluten-free alternatives, here are some choices you can try to make a restorative meal that would provide you with all nutrients:
1. Quinoa: Packed with all essential amino acids, quinoa is a great rice substitute with protein and magnesium. It has a similar texture to rice and is appropriate for people who wish to eliminate rice products that contain gluten.
2. Beans and lentils: People who want a nutritious diet should include beans and lentils in their meals since these are an amazing source of nutrients the body requires. Lentils can be used in various forms, giving you many recipe options.
3. Cauliflower rice: An innovative substitute for rice gluten products, this is a grain-free option you can easily make from cauliflower vegetables. You can grate it or use a food processor for a tasty meal.
4. Corn: If you want an alternative containing the same amount of starch as white rice, corn is your choice. You can use it raw, boiled, or cooked into various vegetable recipes and salads.
5. Millet: Round grains loaded with protein, carbs, fiber, vitamins, and minerals; millet helps you maintain cholesterol levels and blood pressure. The glycaemic index of the grain is lower than regular white rice.
Common Misconceptions about Rice and Gluten
The most common misconception people have about rice flour is its gluten content, which is not true. Every naturally grown rice variety is gluten-free grain; however, when companies process them to make processed foods or mixes, they make glutinous rice flour due to additives.
Thus, if you are gluten intolerant, you must stop consuming wheat and processed rice products. Also, regular rice does not make you fat as the grain has low levels of facts, and hence, it is the best option if you follow a gluten-free diet.
Why Choose Gluten Free Rice?
Including all rice varieties in the diet is an excellent alternative for people who cannot consume grains like wheat, such as gluten-free rice noodles or plain rice, an energy source our bodies need to function correctly.
Therefore, consuming either wild rice or white rice flour and buying products that mention gluten-free in their packs are suggested.
Gluten-Free Lifestyle and Rice
Our lifestyles have changed drastically recently, and we are physically less active than before, which definitely calls for a change in our traditional diet plans. Health issues like cholesterol, blood pressure, skin infections, etc.
Interesting FAQs about Rice
Q1) What are the advantages of rice in a gluten-free diet?
Rice is an exceptional alternative to gluten containing grains like wheat, rye, barley, etc. It contains carbohydrates, protein, magnesium, and zinc and has no fat or cholesterol, making it a healthy option.
Q2) Can individuals adopt white rice as a gluten-free food?
White rice and its flour is gluten-free and can be consumed in various recipes, supplying the complete nourishment an individual needs.
Q3) Is brown rice a gluten-free variant that individuals can consume regularly?
Brown rice is gluten-free and is supposed to be better than standard white rice due to its higher nutritional value. It is a superb food for individuals with high blood sugar and those who want to manage their weight.
Q4) Is basmati rice gluten-free and a nourishing choice for all ages?
Basmati rice is one of the most consumed varieties worldwide and is gluten-free. It can be mixed and cooked with a variety of veggies, lentils, and beans to complete nutrition recipes.
Still wondering is rice gluten-free? People who avoid eating rice, because they think rice gluten would cause health issues need to read about the details of the grain and start including it in their diet. All natural rice varieties are gluten-free and safe to consume.