Getting Spicy With The Nima Sensor
One thing Im asked about often is whether or not spices are gluten-free.
When you read the label of a spice jar, it almost always says just the spices name. For example, a bottle of dried oregano says on its ingredient label, Oregano.
Unfortunately, very few spice companies make certified gluten-free spices. While Im not certain why this is, I suspect that most spices come from a handful of manufacturing facilities where gluten may be present in the facility.
Manufacturing equipment may or may not be shared in the manufacturing of different spices however, when a facility also manufacturers products containing gluten, even if its on different equipment in a different room, a manufacturer may be hesitant to label its spices gluten-free. While the spice doesnt contain any gluten ingredients, these manufacturers fear the risk of air-borne cross contamination.
In other words, these spices are often gluten-free, but they are not labeled as such, and this leads to much confusion over whether or not packaged spices are safe for people with celiac disease and gluten sensitivities.
So, whats a person who eats gluten-free to do? We like spices just like the rest of the world! Are they safe or not?
While I cant tell you exactly what you should do, I can tell what I consider best practices in decoding a spices ingredient label.
Are Simply Organic Spices Gluten Free
Simply Organic spices are manufactured by Frontier Co-Op, and some not all of the spices are certified gluten free by the GFCO.
As mentioned prior, Frontier Co-Op spices, while naturally gluten free, are not tested nor guaranteed to be gluten free. See Frontier Co-Op for additional information.
Verdict: Yes, if labeled gluten free
Are Spices And Herbs Gluten
Spices and herbs add flavours, aromas, colour and textures in cooking. They are also used for medicinal properties, for example, oregano, turmeric and ginger all have significant health benefits. Because of their strong preservative quality, they are also used as natural preservatives in food storage. For example, rosemary is known for its preservative properties in meat. Many spices and herbs have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help support our immune system.
So what is the difference between spices and herbs? Spices are generally made from the bark, seeds or roots of plants. They are dried and then crushed into a powder. Herbs come from leaves of a plant that lacks woody stems, with exception to some such as thyme, rosemary and bay leaf. They are dried, then crumbled or ground
When it comes to seasonings , such as taco seasoning, allspice, or curry powder, be very cautious. Some seasonings may contain wheat flour, wheat starch, or hydrolyzed wheat protein for added bulk, thus reducing the cost of the seasoning. It is essential to read labels or check with the manufacturer to see if they are gluten-free.
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Are Great Value Spices Gluten Free
Walmart has increasingly elevated its gluten-free offerings over the years, and even its store brand, Great Value, offers many GF-labeled products.
I was unable to find out which Great Value spices, specifically, are gluten free, however, if the product is labeled gluten free, Walmart says the product has been validated.
Verdict: Maybe, and only if labeled
Are Trader Joes Spices Gluten Free
Trader Joes says if any of its products claim to be gluten free, that the product has been validated to contain less than 20 ppm of gluten.
When I inspected the spice labels at Trader Joes, I did not see any gluten listed. As a result, I decided to test four random spices with my Nima Sensor for hidden gluten.
To accurately test each spice, I added a few drops of water to the test capsule to dilute the spices as instructed by the Nima Sensor user manual. Here is what I found:
Please note I tested the cumin twice, just to make sure it indeed contained gluten, which it does based on both tests. However, many people in the Nima Sensor community say they believe there is something in cumin that triggers a gluten found message, as this is not unique to Trader Joes spices.
I also tested more than a dozen Trader Joes products for hidden gluten. Please find that list in this article, Testing Trader Joes Gluten-Free Products for Hidden Gluten.
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A Complete List Of Gluten
This post features a complete list of gluten-free spices by brand, and will help you understand if spices contain gluten. This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosures.
People with celiac disease and gluten sensitivities cannot eat gluten. In many cases, even a crumb of gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, barley and sometimes oats, makes these individuals extremely sick.
This has lead many people in the gluten-free community to wonder if their seemingly innocent-looking jars of spices contain only the spice in question or also crumbs of gluten as well.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency confirmed the gluten-free communitys worst fears when it put spices to the gluten test in 2010.
The agency tested 268 ground single ingredient spices and found that 63 samples contained detectable levels of gluten ranging from 5 ppm to 20,000 ppm.
Mind you, however, the agency goes on to say that 62 of the samples contained a level of gluten that would not pose a risk to a sensitive individual.
Regardless, this study is a cautionary tale that even innocent, single-ingredient spices may contain detectable levels of gluten, levels which may be set off an inflammatory cascade in someone with celiac disease, or fuel the inflammatory fire in someone with gluten sensitivity.
In this article, youll learn:
Most Common Spices To Include Gluten
While its quite rare, gluten is sometimes an ingredient in spices. The most common spices to watch out for gluten are:
- Any blend of spices
Theres a chance gluten has been added to prevent the spices from clumping. And theres also a chance of cross-contact. Cross contact is when a product that does not contain gluten comes into contact with a product that does , meaning your spice may now contain traces of gluten.
Also Check: Homemade Gluten Free Bread Crumbs
Are Spicely Organics Spices Gluten Free
Spicely says all of its spices are produced in a dedicated, gluten-free facility and are certified gluten free by the Gluten Intolerance Group.
Spicely spices do not contain gluten, nor come in contact with any ingredients that do.
This is the only full-line of certified gluten-free spices Im aware of, and you can purchase them in some grocery stores and on .
When Is There A Risk
A deciding factor in whether the spice posed a health risk was the amount a person would consume during an average meal. A single serving of a ground spice is typically quite small . So if a spice had 160 ppm of gluten and an individual ate 0.5 grams of this spice in a meal, the amount of gluten consumed would be 0.08 milligrams . Studies have found that a threshold level of less than 10 mg of gluten per day is safe for most individuals with celiac disease.
However, that mace sample at 20,000 ppm would equate to 10 mg of gluten, hitting the upper limit of safety with a single 0.5 gram serving.
For more information about safe threshold levels see Health Canadas position on gluten-free claims.
Also, the FDA has recently published its final rule on gluten-free labeling. Learn about it here.
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Are Spices Safe For A Gluten
Gluten can hide on the spice shelf. But with a little precaution, you can keep your favorite flavors.
Herbs and spices have been used in foods and medicines for thousands of years by many cultures, and prized for their unique scents and flavors. Fresh or dried leaves, such as basil, dill, parsley, rosemary and thyme, would be examples of herbs.
Spices are from the dried part of plants such as the root , seed , bark , bud , berry or flower .
Individual herbs and spices do not usually contain gluten, though a non-gluten anti-caking agent may be added.
In rare cases, spices can be adulterated with wheat flour or wheat starch to reduce cost. Depending on where and how the spices and herbs are packaged, it is quite possible that they could be cross-contaminated with a gluten source. Poor manufacturing practices with herbs and spices have been identified more frequently in Third World countries.
A 2013 report from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is illuminating. Samples of 268 domestic and imported ground spices were collected from retailers across Canada and then tested for the presence of gluten. Twenty-four percent of the samples contained detectable levels of gluten ranging from 5 parts per million to an eye-catching 20,000 ppm.
Use Beneficial Herbs And Spices In Cooking
A great way to regularly incorporate spices like turmeric, ginger and peppermint is in foods. Turmeric is best consumed when added to a curry or a stew and served over a gluten-free grain, Doerfler says. It can also be brewed into a turmeric tea or a soothing golden milk.
One of Doerflers favorite ways to use herbs and spices is to make a mixture of mashed fresh herbs, spices, garlic and oil and keep it in a sealed container in the refrigeratorsimilar to a sofrito used in Puerto Rican or Latino cuisine. When ready to cook, simply add a spoonful of the mixture to dishes.
She recommends using ginger and peppermint in teas and smoothies. To make a tea, grate fresh ginger root and mash several mint leaves in a mug. Add boiling water and let steep for five to 10 minutes before enjoying, she says. For a spicy kick, add a small piece of fresh ginger to your next smoothie.
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Medicinal Properties Of Plant Oils
Herbs and spices have a health-promoting attribute thats often overlooked. The plant oils found in the leaves can have medicinal properties that can be used topically or made into teas, depending on the plant.
Peppermint oil is used to stop spasms of the intestines in patients with irritable bowel syndrome, Doerfler says. Since many patients with celiac disease or other digestive issues have IBS-like symptoms, this can be an important treatment tool.
Angelone agrees: Oils of peppermint, rosemary and thyme can help support GI function, soothe occasional discomfort and help reduce mild gas.
A few small studies have suggested that oregano oil can act as a natural antibiotic, killing bacteria as efficiently as some prescription antibiotics in patients who suffer from small intestinal bacterial overgrowth , Doerfler says.
But check with your physician before using any oil or supplement. Oils can be very powerful and cause harm if used improperly or too long. This should only be done under the supervision of a qualified health professional, Angelone says.
With their many wellness benefits, herbs and spices can help gastrointestinal issues. Sprinkle some on your food or enjoy some in teas to spice up your health.
Megy Karydes is a Chicago-based freelance health writer.
Are Spice Hunter Spices Gluten Free
The Spice Hunter says on its website, Our spices and spice blends do not contain gluten. Our Organic Dip & Seasoning Mixes, Turkey Brines, and Global Fusion Rubs are certified gluten-free by the Gluten Intolerance Group.
The Spice Hunter also lists the following spices on its website as certified gluten free:
Verdict: Yes, if labeled gluten free
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Spice Up Your Digestive First Aid
Cinnamon is high in antioxidants. It may assist in relieving intestinal gas and indigestion. It can also be used to help regulate insulin and blood sugar levels. Because cinnamon is naturally sweet, it can help decrease the need for added sugar.
Ginger can alleviate nausea. It may help ease heartburn and relieve gas and bloating.
Licorice Root may relieve irritation of the mucous membranes and soothe GI tract inflammation. It can have a mild laxative effect. Deglycerized licorice is often used for ulcers and gastritis. However, people with high blood pressure, edema, congestive heart failure, low blood potassium or pregnancy should use caution. Note that licorice candy usually contains gluten.
Oregano can have antimicrobial, antibacterial properties.
Slippery Elm and have been found to help with heartburn/reflux.
Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties. It can also help reduce intestinal gas and facilitate the expulsion of gas. Curcumin is the active substance in turmeric.
A pinch of cinnamon or a teaspoon of grated ginger can enhance more than the food on your plate. When you add herbs and spices to your diet, you may also be enhancing your healthespecially if you suffer from digestive issues.
The Antioxidant Power Of Herbs And Spices
Many herbs and spices contain antioxidants that neutralize free radicals or damaged cells that can lead to cancer, inflammation and other health problems, says Sonya Angelone, MS, RDN, CLT, dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Cloves, cinnamon, oregano, turmeric and cumin rank high in antioxidants, as measured by their oxygen radical absorbance capacity values.
Blueberries are well known for their antioxidant powerbut one teaspoon of ground cinnamon has a higher ORAC value than a half cup of blueberries. The key is using enough spices consistently so that they can make a big difference, Doherty says.
Both fresh and dried herbs and spices are excellent sources of antioxidants, although fresh comes out ahead in this regard. Yet dried herbs and spices are powerful, too, Doerfler says.
Since dried herbs and spices lose their potency over time, use them quickly or replace them in six to 12 months. Also, check labels to make sure your spice blends are gluten-free. Many seasoning blends can contain food starch or gluten as a binder, Doerfler warns.
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Do Spices Have Gluten
In their purest form, spices will usually not contain gluten. And be considered gluten-free. The gluten protein is found in cereal grains such as wheat, barley, rye, and oats , and no spices are derived from cereal grains.
However, blends of spices and herbs are far more likely to contain gluten. Gluten is great for holding ingredients together, and for bulking it out too! It also helps to stop the spices clumping. This is why you may see wheat starch or wheat flour on the ingredients label.
Gluten Free Herbs And Spices
Diagnoses of Coeliac disease have been steadily increasing in the UK in all age groups of people. To suddenly discover that you cannot tolerate gluten in your diet presents a huge challenge for people that have always enjoyed a wide range of foods.
Although it is common knowledge that single herbs and spices do not contain gluten, being confident to choose foods that are gluten-free causes considerable anxiety. Some of the larger spice processing companies do handle products that contain gluten and may even add them to their spice blends, for example, McCormick who incorporate wheat into some of their spice mixes.
As a spice blend manufacturer based in Bromborough, UK, our spice factory is totally gluten free. Unlike other spice companies we are not totally mechanised, in fact we are still proud of producing most of our products in small batches by hand. Our products are authentic and therefore do not need to be filled with additives, fillers or free-flow agents.
So how can you be sure which products are free of gluten?
As this has become a more common question we recently decided to undertake some testing of a number of products that we thought were at higher risk of being contaminated with gluten in the supply chain. Also as a precaution and to understand the risk factors in herbs and spices, we have spent quite a lot of time researching this and understanding if gluten is a risk in our products.
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