Are oats free of gluten? This is almost always the same question asked when it comes to consuming oats, especially for people with celiac disease. So, is it free of gluten? Plus, what does it mean for food to be gluten-free and what is Celiac disease?
What Are Oats and Its Benefits?
You’ve certainly heard of this, and it may already be part of your daily meals. Oats are a common cereal grain which is whole grain. Moreover, it is rich in fiber, plant-based protein, and trace minerals. Some oats have fatty acids, which are healthy in nature. More of its benefits are listed below.
Reduces Risk of Heart Disease
As mentioned, oats are whole grain. Whole grains are linked to the reduced risk of diseases in the heart. It also significantly reduces the risk of a stroke.
Supports Healthy Intestines and Stomach
Oats are fiber-rich, which can help ease constipation. Thus, it keeps the stomach and intestines healthy. Moreover, the fiber in oats contributes to a feeling of fullness. So, the desire to eat more is greatly lessened.
Carries Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) of Nutrients
Oats are rich in nutrients namely manganese, phosphorous, zinc, copper, and magnesium. For the RDI of each, a serving of oats offer 191 percent of manganese, 20 percent of zink, 41 percent of phosphorous, 24 percent of copper, and 34 percent of magnesium.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Avenanthramide is a group of antioxidants that help lower one’s blood pressure. Oats are rich in this type of antioxidants.
Reduces Bad Cholesterol
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is called the “bad” cholesterol. A high amount of LDL is linked to heart disease. Avoid such risk with the help of oats. It helps reduce the amount of LDL in the body.
What Is Gluten?
On the other hand, gluten is a fraction of prolamin protein that affects individuals with Celiac disease. The name of the gluten fraction varies. It is called hordein in barley, gliadin in wheat, and secalin in rye.
As mentioned, gluten-free food is for people with Celiac disease. This is an autoimmune condition where the person suffers intense gastrointestinal problems like constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, bloating, gas, anemia, and unintentional weight loss. This happens when they consume food that is not free of gluten.
The bodies of people with Celiac disease create antibodies to track and destroy the gluten. This harms the small intestine and causes the symptoms mentioned above. The small intestine absorbs minerals, nutrients, and vitamins essential to the body. If it is damaged, the ability to absorb such content becomes impaired.
Avoiding food rich in gluten saves the small intestine from damage. Moreover, it avoids the risk of nutritional deficiencies caused by the damages to the small intestine.
Clearing the Conundrum
Commercially produced oats can be contaminated by rye, barley, and wheat. Even trace amounts of gluten can cause major discomfort for someone with Celiacdisease. However, as long as the oats are pure and non-contaminated, then the oats are deemed safe for individuals who cannot tolerate gluten.
Oats that are free of gluten are the least expensive grains. Moreover, these are the best sources for B vitamins, selenium, magnesium, and iron. This is why even the American Heart Association stated that oatmeal is a healthy food for the heart.
How to Make Sure Oats Are Free of Gluten
As mentioned, oats that are commercially produced aren’t totally free of gluten. That box of Quaker oats might not be the best choice for a gluten-intolerant individual. So, how does one make sure that the oats he or she wants to consume are free of this prolamin protein fraction?
- Check Sources. The source of the oats must not be sourced from a place where there is barley, wheat, or rye. Cross-contamination may occur. Check the label and the ask information from the provider to verify there has been no cross-contamination.
- Third Party Inspection. This is the most trusted way to validate that the source of the oats has not been contaminated. Again, check the label or the product’s website. Call and ask for information regarding the quality inspection done by a third party.
Gluten Free Oats, Brands to Check Out
For certified gluten-free oatmeal available in the market, here are just a few.
They offer eight differently flavored oatmeal that’s free of gluten. This company guarantees that their oatmeal has gluten that is only less than five parts per million. It’s a trace amount, but entirely safe for someone who can still have reactions to gluten.
A family-owned-and-run business based in Wyoming, this company not only grows oats but executes extensive tests on the fields. This is to make sure that no contamination occurs. Along with a Kosher and organic certification, the company even has a gluten-free certification.
Bob’s Red Mill
This company offers both gluten and gluten-free oat products. They have numerous varieties of oatmeal that is free of gluten. Moreover, they perform tests on gluten on their products which come down to approximately 20 portions per million.
The company tests its oats and claims that the gluten comes down to three parts per million. Furthermore, they work right with the farmers to ensure that cross-contamination is avoided.
A popular brand you’re most likely to spot at the grocery. However, not all products of Quaker oats are free of gluten. It is best to check for the purple banner on its package which signifies it is gluten-free. They perform tests on their oats to ensure it has gluten that is fewer than 20 portions per million. Again, it’s a trace amount that may cause reactions to particularly gluten-sensitive individuals.
Apart from the ones mentioned, other brands offer products that are free of gluten. Some may be certified while others may not. It is best to check labels and their website.
Individuals with Celiac disease or sensitivity to gluten should always double check the labels of gluten-free products. This is to ensure the product is indeed free of gluten and that no cross-contamination may have occurred.