The Gluten-Free Diet: Health Benefits Even For Those Not Suffering From Celiac Disease
You probably already heard about the gluten-free diet. And you most likely believe it is designed only for those with gluten sensitivity and celiac disease. But to tell you the truth, the gluten-free diet can offer health benefits to anyone, no matter if you’re suffering from gluten-related problems or not. So, we decided to share this article with you! Read on to find out all you need to know about the gluten-free diet and its health benefits!
First of all: what is gluten?
Gluten represents a family of proteins found in wheat, barley, rye, and spelt. It is a sticky compound that offers bread the ability to rise when baked. Still, many people nowadays experience a lot of discomfort after eating foods with gluten. And the most severe side effect is known as celiac disease.
The celiac disease represents an autoimmune disorder in which the body attacks itself. It can become a life-threatening condition, as it can damage the intestines. As such, if you are feeling uncomfortable after eating food with gluten, it is best to seek medical advice.
Numerous individuals have non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Even though those people don’t test positive for celiac disease, they feel uncomfortable after ingesting it. Some of the common symptoms of gluten sensitivity include stomach pain, bloating, or eczema.
The gluten-free diet: what foods to avoid
You should know that removing gluten from your diet is somewhat tricky. Many foods today use it, and not all distributors are honest with their labels. Still, there are some leading sources of gluten, such as:
- Wheat-based foods like wheat bran, wheat flour, spelt, durum, kamut, and semolina
- Brewer’s yeast
Some of the most common foods with gluten in their composition might be:
- Bread. All wheat-based bread.
- Pasta. All wheat-based pasta.
- Cereals. Unless labeled gluten-free.
- Baked goods. Cakes, cookies, muffins, pizza, bread, crumbs, and pastries.
- Snack foods. Candy, muesli bars, crackers, pre-packaged convenience foods, roasted nuts, flavored chips and popcorn, pretzels.
- Sauces. Soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, hoisin sauce, marinades, salad dressings.
- Beverages. Beer flavored alcoholic beverages.
- Other foods. Couscous, broth (unless labeled gluten-free).
The gluten-free diet: what to eat
The first thing you need to know about the gluten-free diet is that you need to pay close attention to the food selection in your kitchen. Amongst the approved foods we can mention:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Beans, seeds, legumes, and nuts in their natural, unprocessed forms
- Lean, nonprocessed meats, fish and poultry
- Most low-fat dairy products
- Corn — cornmeal, grits, and polenta labeled gluten-free
- Gluten-free flours — rice, soy, corn, potato, and bean flours
- Hominy (corn)
- Rice, including wild rice
- Tapioca (cassava root)
The health benefits of a gluten-free diet
It soothes and supports the health of the digestive tract
No matter if you are intolerant to gluten or not, a gluten-free diet can help with a wide array of digestive issues. Several studies show that a gluten-free diet can diminish bloating, constipation, gas, and fatigue.
It diminishes inflammation in patients with celiac disease
Of course, the main benefit of a gluten-free diet is that it aids celiac disease patients in managing inflammation. Also, removing gluten from diets for those individuals can turn out to be lifesaving.
It balances energy levels and metabolic rates
Another benefit of a gluten-free diet for anyone following it is that it can boost energy levels. This happens because gut health is improved, which in turn leads to proper nutrient absorption. As a result, the risk of having nutrient deficiency becomes extremely low. And, of course, removing gluten from a diet can lead to a balanced meal plan, which results in better metabolic rates.
It might help in weight loss
many people turn their attention to a gluten-free diet because it aids in weight loss. And this happens because you will remove junk food and many processed gluten-based foods that lead to weight gain. As such, a gluten-free diet can become your ally in your weight loss journey. You will eat a lot of fruits, vegetables, and lean protein.
The side effects
Even though a gluten-free diet can boost nutrient absorption in the body, many people fail in creating a nutritious meal plan. As a result, they might experience deficiencies in fiber, iron, vitamin B12, vitamin A, vitamin D, and zinc. So, if you’re planning to use a gluten-free diet, you should be careful about your meal plans. And when in doubt, you can always seek the advice of a nutritionist.