Green tea, like most beverages, is safe for someone suffering from a gluten intolerance. However, some manufacturers may expose it to gluten-containing products when adding flavorings, so always check the label before consuming it.
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Green tea is a type of tea made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. According to Purdue University, it is different from black and oolong tea because it contains unfermented leaves that have been steamed and dried. When brewed, green tea is a good source of antioxidants called polyphenols, as well as the antioxidant family carotenes, riboflavin and pantothenic acid. The antioxidants in green tea help your cells fight the damaging effects of free radicals. Green tea also contains some caffeine.
According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, a gluten intolerance, or celiac disease, is a disease in which your immune system reacts to the protein gluten by attacking your small intestine’s lining. This damages your villi, or growths in your small intestine, which help your body absorb nutrients. This leads to symptoms like stomach pain, gas, fatigue and diarrhea. Gluten intolerance is chronic, but its symptoms can be managed by a diet that carefully eliminates gluten.
According to the Mayo Clinic, gluten is found in select grains, primarily wheat, barley and rye. Many grains, like corn, rice and buckwheat, do not contain any gluten. Pure green tea is not a grain, and should not contain the protein gluten. The green tea made by most major brands, like Celestial Seasonings and Lipton, are gluten-free. Bigelow, a popular tea manufacturer, does add gluten-containing products to some of their teas. However, their green teas are gluten-free.
In addition to tea, wine and spirits, ciders, and some coffees are naturally gluten-free. Other naturally gluten-free foods include meats and poultry, fruits and vegetables, most dairy products and fish. Gluten-free grains and starches include amaranth, arrowroot, cornmeal, rice, quinoa and tapioca. You do need to avoid wheat, barley, rye, bulgur and semolina. You should also only eat specially marked gluten-free products if the product is normally made with wheat. These can include beer, bread, cookies and pastas.