Today we’re going to be taking a closer look at oat bran. What is oat bran? Is it gluten-free? And what substitution for oat bran are there? There are quite a few out there, so we don’t have to go without when following a gluten-free lifestyle.
What Is Oat Bran?
Oat bran is the outer shell of an oat grain. During processing the exterior husk is taken away and leaves behind the oat groats. This is then used to make oat bran (or oat meal). However, oat bran is even better for your health than oatmeal. It’s high in fiber and protein, meaning it’s far more nutritious.
Is Oat Bran Gluten Free?
Surprisingly, oat bran is naturally gluten-free. However, the way that it’s processed and grown, this may mean the final product isn’t gluten-free. It’s likely to have come into contact with wheat, rye, or barley during the milling process. When buying oat bran, it’s always best to look out for the “gluten-free” label to ensure you’re getting the safest option.
While oat bran isn’t known to cause the inflammation that gluten does, it’s very common to also be intolerant to oats, if you are to gluten. I can’t have any oats – even ones that are gluten-free! It makes shopping very frustrating as lots of gluten-free products contain oats. It’s certainly something to watch out for if you’re gluten-free and still experiencing gluten symptoms.
Oat Bran Substitutes
For an oat bran replacement, there are a wide range of options. From gluten-free oat bran to different alternatives altogether – let’s take a deeper look!
Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Oat Bran
Bob’s Red Mill is known for it’s extensive range of gluten-free products. They have a separate facility which is 100% gluten-free and products go through batch testing to ensure they’re free from gluten. One serving of their Gluten-Free Oat Bran provides you with 14% of your daily fiber. It’s rich and nutty flavor makes it perfect for baking and breakfast. But in reality – it can be added to anything!
This product is naturally gluten-free. As well as being organic, sugar-free, sodium-free, vegan and all-natural. This product is a little more pricey, but you expect to pay extra for organic products. They often taste much nicer. Sprinkle it over your cereal, add it your pancake mix, or blitz it into your smoothie; oat bran is so versatile.
Great Value Organic Whole Flax Seed
Flax seeds (otherwise known as linseeds) comes from the flax plant. They’re one of the oldest crops and it’s texture and taste is very similar to oat bran. Flax Seed is naturally gluten-free and there’s a range of flax seed options available to us. This is one of the best substitutions for oat bran. Great Value Organic’s Flax Seed is marked gluten-free and is certified organic. It can be used in exactly the same way as oat bran. Add to items like waffles, cake, and bread for extra nutrition and fiber.
Flax seeds have a range of health benefits; ranging from improving cholesterol and lowering blood pressure. They’re also great at keeping you fuller for longer, so a great addition to the first meal of the day.
Now Foods Rice Bran
Rice bran is similar to any other bran, except that it’s made from rice. Rice is naturally gluten-free and often isn’t processed in the same facility as gluten products, which makes it one of the safer options. It’s trickier to get hold of but Now Foods Rice Bran is easy to source and quite inexpensive.
It’s gluten-free (obviously), a good source of fiber and iron and is great for boosting your magnesium and vitamin B6 levels. The way it’s made means that it keeps it’s freshness and can be used in the same way as any other type of bran.
Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Oats
Whilst this is similar to the oat bran they have, these are slightly larger but are still just as good. Everything is made in a separate facility and the strict quality standards are clearly met. They even test their products for a second time to ensure there are no traces of gluten – now that’s thorough! They can be used for all of the above we’ve previously looked at or a good old-fashioned bowl of oatmeal.
Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Buckwheat
Despite the name, buckwheat is naturally gluten-free. It’s actually a fruit seed, rather than a cereal grain and it’s a great, healthy substitute. Again, Bob’s Red Mill is delivering the goods for those of us following a gluten-free lifestyle. I’ve always said that if you find a gluten-free brand that’s great – utilize it! So we should definitely be making the most of Bob’s Red Mill. These taste mild and grassy and are great to add in soups or salads.
There are other alternatives such as corn (or maize) bran but these are much harder to find in your local grocery store. It may be worth having a look in your local health store, as they often have a wide range of similar products.
Which Substitute Is Your Favorite?
To conclude, although oat bran is naturally gluten-free, not all oat brans in the grocery stores will be, due to the way they’re manufactured. So check your labels – which I’m sure you already do. I know this diet can feel restricting, but we certainly don’t have to go without when it comes to oat bran.
Have you tried any of the substitutes that are mentioned in this article? I would love to know. If you have a favorite, please feel free to leave it in the comments below – especially if you have any recipes involving one of them.
I can’t tolerate any oats, so flax seed and rice bran is the way forward for me!
Read more about: Are Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Treats Gluten-Free?