Is Quinoa Gluten-Free?
Yes, quinoa is gluten-free. Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is gluten-free and is a great alternative to gluten-containing grains. It is a nutritionally dense whole grain that gives a higher amount of antioxidants than other common grains eaten on the gluten-free diet. It’s also one of the few plant foods that is considered a complete protein. That means it contains the nine amino acids needed to be considered a protein.
Quinoa contains a lot of vitamins and minerals that make it an excellent dietary choice. Quinoa has:
- Vitamin E
Learn more about the nutritional benefits of quinoa from Medical News Today.
Things to Remember When Eating Quinoa
Even though quinoa is a gluten-free grain, it is still considered a “high risk” ingredient. That’s because quinoa and other gluten-free grains are often grown and harvested with wheat, barley and rye. Cross-contact can occur because of this, making a gluten-free grain no longer safe for a person with celiac disease. Whenever possible, buy quinoa that is labeled or certified as gluten-free. Avoid buying quinoa from bulk bins at the grocery store, since cross-contact can easily occur if other shoppers share scoops between the various bins.
Tricia Thompson, MS, RD of Gluten-Free Watchdog studied gluten contamination in naturally gluten-free grains. Get more information on Gluten-Free Watchdog:
- Contamination of Naturally Gluten-Free Grains: Part 1
- Contamination of Naturally Gluten-Free Grains: Part 2
When ordering dishes with quinoa at a restaurant, be sure to ask about the way it’s prepared. If it is prepared in a pan that has cooked gluten-containing grains, cross-contact is likely to occur. Quinoa can often be prepared with chicken broth instead of water, which can contain gluten. Be sure to ask which is used when cooking the quinoa. For more tips on eating gluten-free in restaurants, download the free Beyond Celiac Dining Tips Sheet.
Celiac Disease Symptoms after Eating Quinoa
If you have symptoms after eating quinoa, double check the ingredients label to make sure no gluten-containing ingredients are added. Look for a gluten-free label on the package. If there are none, it’s possible that cross-contact has occurred during the growing and manufacturing process. For help on reading ingredients labels, head here.
Also review how the quinoa was cooked. Was a gluten-containing ingredient added, like chicken broth? Did cross-contact occur?
Some people with celiac disease are sensitive to grains in general, even those that are gluten-free. Your doctor or a dietitian knowledgeable of celiac disease can help you figure this out.