So what is gluten anyway? Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and the derivatives of these grains, including malt and brewer’s yeast.
A gluten-free diet excludes all products containing these ingredients. Those who are gluten-free can still enjoy a healthy diet filled with fruits, vegetables, meats, poultry, fish, beans, legumes and most dairy products. Such ingredients are naturally gluten-free, and safe for individuals who do not have allergies to these respective food groups.
Foods made from whole grains (and grain-like plants) that do not contain harmful gluten, including:
- Corn in all forms (corn flour, cornmeal, grits, etc.)
- Plain rice in all forms (white, brown, wild, basmati, enriched rice, etc.)
- Amaranth, arrowroot, buckwheat (kasha), cassava, flax, millet, quinoa, sorghum, soy, tapioca, teff, polenta and fonio.
- Flours made from gluten-free grain, nuts, beans and coconut, including buckwheat flour, millet flour, almond flour, chickpea flour, amaranth flour, brown rice flour and coconut flour. Look for products labeled gluten free to avoid cross-contamination.
Where hemp seeds really shine is in the way they promote cellular health. They are one of the best-balanced sources of Omega 3 and Omega 6 essential fatty acids. Between them and their spectrum of proteins they promote fortified cellular development for a whole host of immediate health benefits, including:
- Significantly lowered cholesterol and blood pressure plus decreased probability of stroke
- Reduction of the inflammation that comes with many diseases and conditions
- Speedier disease recovery due to better cellular health
- Better circulation for those with circulatory impairment, and particularly for diabetics
- Better immune system performance overall
Hemp seeds and hemp oil naturally do not contain gluten, so they both align with a gluten-free diet. This means that those who follow a gluten-free diet can feel comfortable incorporating hemp seeds and hemp oil in their pure form into their diets without experiencing any of the ill effects gluten causes.
In fact, those who follow a gluten-free diet may find that incorporating hemp seeds and hemp oil into their diets helps them reduce the risk of nutrient deficiencies. Hemp is a great source of a number of vitamins and minerals, including zinc, iron, magnesium, vitamin D, and vitamin A. Hemp is also high in fiber, which supports digestive health and could be beneficial for preventing constipation.
Hemp seeds are tasty enough to be eaten raw or shelled on their own, or they can be tossed into your favorite smoothie recipe, blended with basil to make pesto, and added as a topping to salads and soups.
The Canadian Celiac Association also certifies brands that manufacture gluten-free products, through their Gluten-Free Certification Program. You can look up safe products on their website or check for their badge while shopping.
Many health food stores offer hemp flour, which is made by crushing hemp seeds and then milling and sifting the remaining hemp seed cake, or hemp protein, made by grinding hemp seeds. Both can can serve as an alternative for wheat flours for making gluten-free breads, muffins, and cookies, or added to smoothies and sauces.
With its naturally nutty flavor, hemp seed oil is considered to be one of the most nutritious types of oil and can be put into foods like dressing, smoothies, soups, and sauces.
Whenever possible, purchase naturally gluten-free grains, flours and starches that are labeled gluten-free and, also, certified gluten-free by a third party.