This article will answer the question “Is couscous gluten free”. Couscous is a delicacy loved by many people but it is native to the North Africans. One of the reasons I think people love couscous is that it does not need long preparation time, you just have to pour in a hot liquid, cover and allow to cook for some minutes and it is ready for consumption.
Couscous is not grain like rice but it is made from durum wheat semolina flour that has been finely grounded. It may look like tiny pasta or even rice as it has light tan or light brown color. Couscous has no taste but it can be used with other ingredients, or eaten with vegetables. It can be used in:
Salads, stews, stir fires and other cuisines.
Gluten is among the family of storage protein. They are found in grains like wheat, rye and barley. It is often added to foods processed because it has some unique properties. Gluten is what gives foods made from grains that soft chewy texture.
When they are in bread, they trap gas and makes the bread to rise while retaining moisture. It is also used as thickener when producing some foods. Foods that contain gluten are like couscous, semolina, whole wheat, rye, barley, bread, crackers, pasta, cookies, soy sauce, beer, wine, barley malt, some spices, bouillon and others.
IS COUSCOUS GLUTEN FREE?
The answer is no. This is because couscous is made from semolina. Semolina, itself is made from durum wheat and this contains gluten. The dry semolina flour is sprinkled with water and is rolled with the hands to form small shapes and the pellets are sprinkled with dry flour to avoid them sticking together.
Afterwards, it is sieved. This process is continued till all the semolina is formed into couscous.
For people who are intolerant or are insensitive to gluten, eating couscous is not advised. It is filled with gluten because of the semolina in it.
MEDICAL CONDITIONS THAT SHOULD MAKE ONE AVOID COUSCOUS
There are some medical conditions that will need the patient to stay away from eating couscous or any other food with gluten. Conditions like :
(1) Wheat allergy
Wheat allergy is a condition where the body is intolerant to wheat or any food processed from wheat. You may try to cancel couscous from this condition but couscous as we know is made from durum wheat flour.
(2) Celiac disease
This is a condition of autoimmunity. Autoimmunity is a condition where one’s immune system attacks one’s own tissues. When people with celiac disease take in gluten, their immune system attacks their small intestines’ cells. One of the ways to treat this condition is to stay away from foods like couscous.
Others include irritable bowel syndrome. A typical example of food that is gluten free is parmesan cheese.
SYMPTOMS OF GLUTEN INTOLERANCE
Eating couscous and other foods that have gluten in them cause many symptoms for those who are gluten intolerant.
- Skin problems can occur to show your body does not accept the food you ate. You can have rashes, eczema or any skin inflammation.
- Weight loss
OTHER SYMPTOMS OF GLUTEN INTOLERANCE
- Pain in the abdomen
- Digestive tissues inflammation
- Difficulty in speaking
- Decrease in immune system function
- Joint pain
Naturally, couscous is made from semolina and semolina is made from wheat. So, it is safe to say that couscous is not gluten free.
BENEFITS OF EATING COUSCOUS
On researching on the topic “Is couscous gluten free” , It is good to first of all examined the benefits of eating couscous. Although the gluten is not healthy for people who have gluten intolerance, there are still some health benefits of eating couscous.
(1) It is a good source of protein
The body needs protein for growth and development, so it is important you take in enough protein. One of the foods that gives plant-based protein is couscous. In a 157 gram of couscous ( a cup ), there are 6 grams of protein.
(2) Couscous has enough selenium
Selenium is a mineral that helps the body to repair damaged cells, it is an antioxidant. Selenium also help the thyroid gland to function properly and also help reducing your chances of having heart disease. It can also help in regenerating vitamins that can increase how your immune system functions. A 157 gram contains as much as 60% of the selenium needed.
(3) It lowers the chances of having cancer
Because of the selenium present in couscous, risk of cancer is reduced. Selenuim protects the body against many cancer diseases like prostrate and lung cancer.
(4) It is easy to prepare
Couscous is versatile and can fit into any dish. The cooking methods are quite easy for anyone.
We have discuss exhaustively on the post “Is couscous gluten free” Couscous is a naturally flavored food made from semolina. It has gluten and not suitable for someone who has gluten intolerance. However, there are some new couscous that are made from corn or fermented cassava.
If you must eat couscous, you should first read the label to know the major ingredients used in it’s production. But there are foods that can substitute couscous like millet, sorghum, riced cauliflower or quinoa.