Since gluten may trigger GI symptoms in some people, limiting it “can make a hugely positive impact on your health,” says Alejandro Junger, MD, LA-based author of Clean Eats. Regardless of whether or not you have a sensitivity, gluten-free whole grains are naturally nutrient-rich, making them a good choice for a well-balanced eating plan. They can also help change up your diet, preventing boredom in the kitchen.
Here, five smart options to try.
Count this still-trendy grain as a great plant-based source of protein. Opt for sprouted quinoa, which reduces certain enzymes in the plant (designed to protect the grain or seed), and makes it even easier to digest. This may also improve the availability of minerals like iron and calcium, says registered dietitian Ryan Andrews, RD, a coach with Precision Nutrition and author of A Guide to Plant-Based Eating.
This grain, which comes from the grass family, is high in magnesium, an electrolyte that the body needs for proper nerve and muscle function. It’s lost through sweat, so athletes may need more of it to keep energy levels up. Prepare millet like rice and top it with veggies, tofu, and your favorite dressing.
It may be a “pseudo grain”—meaning it’s not a true grain cereal—but it does offer a sound source of complex carbohydrates. It also contains phytosterols, compounds that can help lower cholesterol, and an anti-inflammatory, cancer-protective peptide called lunasin.
Brown rice will help you get more filling fiber, but white rice has also been a staple of many cultures who eat healthy diets.