Rice itself is absolutely free from gluten, be it brown rice or the white variety, both are gluten free. The introduction of gluten into brown rice can only be possible during the preparation stage. However, plain brown rice cooked in water is absolutely gluten free and can be safely consumed by individuals showing signs of celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
Try this awesome gluten free recipe: Brown Rice and Goat Cheese Cakes
The contamination takes place when brown rice is cooked with vegetables and other spices that may contain some thickening agents. These thickening agents may contain wheat, making the final product gluten rich. Brown rice mixed with chicken gravy is also said to contain gluten as gravies normally contain wheat flour which is used as a thickening agent. Brown rice cooked with flavors may also contain gluten as flavors contain malt and malt is made from barley. Plan brown rice is absolutely 100% gluten free. No second thoughts on this; however the confusion arises only when brown rice is not cooked alone.
Brown rice can be easily considered as a better alternative over other gluten free cereal grains as it has a pretty impressive nutritive profile. Brown rice is a major source of carbohydrates for majority of the world’s population. It is also rich in various nutrients such as calcium, Vitamin D, niacin, iron, fiber and thiamine. This being said, brown rice should be consumed by all celiac patients not only because it is gluten free but also because of its high nutritional content.
Brown rice flour can be used as an excellent addition in gluten free flour mixes. Brown rice can be used for making pastas and noodles for gluten intolerant individuals. The ingredients used are just rice, rice bran and water; there is no way through which gluten can be present and thus it is safe for all celiac patients. It can also be used for baking purpose. Ready to eat flavored brown rice, sold in packages should be checked for gluten containing ingredients before purchase. Such packed products may contain malt flavorings which is harmful for gluten intolerant individuals. You also need to take note of the fact that even if you purchase packed ready to eat plain brown rice then the preservatives that are added to prolong the shelf lie of the product may contain gluten in them. Therefore if you are not sure about any ingredient listed in the labels it is best to avoid such foods; after all prevention is always better than cure!!
Rice, both brown and white is considered to be a low allergen food and safe for consumption for individuals suffering from food allergies. Thus, brown rice in its natural form is safe for all gluten intolerant individuals.