Those with gluten sensitivities such as Celiac disease, autoimmune reactions — or even simply wishing to lose a few extra pounds — benefit from gluten free foods.
Gluten is a complex protein found in all wheat and wheat products, as well as barley and rye. It adds elasticity to breads as they rise, and is rich in protein. But if you have Celiac disease (or other gluten related sensitivities), the body cannot produce gluten. Some less sensitive individuals experience symptoms ranging from bloating and gas, skin rashes, achy joints (from systemic inflammation) and fatigue. The associated inflammation of the digestive system can mean that nutrients aren’t absorbed, both wasting the vitamins and creating a nutritional imbalance in the body.
Why Should People Without Celiac Disease Eat Gluten Free Foods?
Many health food stores (and now mainstream grocery stores) carry a growing variety of gluten-free foods.
Most processed foods contain gluten (or wheat products) of one sort or another. If you go on a diet that avoids processed foods (often full of empty calories and fat anyway), you will cut out not only the potential effects of gluten, but a lot of calories — and eating gluten free then becomes a naturally healthy way to lose weight!
So, even if you’re not highly sensitive to gluten, you may begin to feel better, even look better, on a gluten free diet. The subtle effects of gluten-triggered inflammation will fade — such as bloating, vague muscle and joint aches, and you may feel energized.
Also, when you avoid gluten in your diet, you will naturally eat more vegetables and fruit — which are full of natural antioxidants, trace minerals and vitamins, low in oil and fat. As an added benefit, studies show that diets of this type reduce the risks of some cancers, heart disease and even can reverse some levels of diabetes!
The increased natural health and vitamins and reduced systemic inflammation will also boost your immune system, helping your system protect you from germs and whatever cold or flu that is making the rounds of your office this week (and next, and next).
Gluten free diets can also help you lose weight. Gluten free foods are often lower in starches (high carb), and fat. Potatoes, yams, brown rice, though carb-free, still have a lot of carbs, but they’re far less processed and have many other nutrients to help balance them out. Use them wisely, they can be valuable additions to a healthy diet.
Although it is easier to find gluten free foods today than in times past, not all gluten free foods are as healthy as we would like. Some contain high amounts of saturated fats, cholesterol and carbohydrates. But, since someone on a gluten free diet can safely eat fish, lean meats, lots of vegetables, low fat dairy and fruit, gluten free diet can be delicious and even more healthy for you.