Going Gluten-FreeMarch 31, 2014

Is Quinoa Safe?

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Posted by Christine Boyd

Super-nutritious quinoa is a staple for many on the gluten-free diet. A seed (not a grain), quinoa differs biologically from gluten-containing grains (wheat, barley and rye). But there’s been very little research describing the gastrointestinal effects of eating quinoa for those with celiac disease—until now.

A study published in January in the American Journal of Gastroenterology determined that quinoa is not harmful. In fact, among study participants, all of whom had celiac disease, there was a trend toward improved small bowel health after consuming quinoa. Eating quinoa also delivered a surprise heart-health benefit.

Study Synopsis: 

  • Adding quinoa to the gluten-free diets of 19 celiacs did not exacerbate their disease. In fact, there was a trend toward improved small bowel health (i.e., degree of villous atrophy) with quinoa consumption (about ¼ cup daily for six weeks).
  • Eating quinoa had a mild cholesterol-lowering effect. This heart-health benefit may extend to those without celiac disease, although more research is needed.

For more studies related to your special diet, see the latest issue of Living Without magazine.


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