Celiac Disease & Gluten Sensitivity: 5 Reasons Ways Avoid Gluten In Your Diet
Gluten is a hot button topic these days. It seems that half the diets that are advertised involve reducing gluten in one way or another. But why is that?
Understanding Celiac Disease & Gluten Sensitivity
Gluten is made up of gliadins and glutenins and is found in most wheat products. Acting as a binder, it holds food together. Seems innocent enough, right? Well, as innocent as it seems on paper, gluten can pack an unfortunate punch to certain individuals who have a gluten intolerance or Celiac Disease. For those coping with Celiac Disease, food containing gluten can be uncomfortable or downright dangerous to consume. They can experience symptoms such as gas, bloating, abdominal pain, headaches, and more. In these individuals, these uncomfortable symptoms are merely a part of the larger problem, as gluten consumption actually causes the immune system to attack the small intestine, causing damage to the digestive system over the long term. But even if you don’t suffer from Celiac Disease there are still a few reasons why you should avoid gluten in your diet.
So Why Avoid Gluten?
Wheat is one of the “big eight” allergens; many people who may not suffer from Celiac Disease can still develop an allergy to it, causing itchy rash, swollen throat or even anaphylaxis. Gluten and some other components of wheat have been implicated in NCGS or Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity. These components have been known to trigger the immune system even without actually having the autoimmune disease itself.
Gluten proteins are not easy for our digestive system to break down and as a result, being partially digested, it can yield a toxic amino acid called gliadin peptide. Typically, these peptides cannot enter the body in a healthy intestine, but gliadin peptides break down the impermeable barrier, allowing them and other molecules to pass through into your system. Once they are in they can wreak havoc causing inflammation and the production of antibodies and chemicals that attack the intestine.
Easy Ways To Reduce Gluten In Your Diet
Individuals who are sensitive to gluten are not the only ones who could benefit from a reduced-gluten diet, though! Even if you don’t have a gluten sensitivity, if you’re interested in reducing the amount of gluten in your diet, read on for some simple tips to incorporate into your everyday life.
1. Choose Gluten-Free Grains And Pastas
It may seem the most obvious choice but choosing gluten-free grains and pastas is the simplest way to reduce gluten in your diet. Grains such as quinoa, amaranth, and brown rice are all gluten free. These grains also tend to have good complex carbohydrates, meaning that your diet doesn’t need to suffer for the lack of whole wheat bread or cereal with your morning eggs
2. Eat More Fruits And Vegetables
A big concern with gluten-free diets is that they tend to lack many of the nutrients that grains, and cereals are now enriched with, such as folate and magnesium. Eating more fruits and vegetables helps to reduce that concern, given that they are natural sources of many micronutrients. Additionally, whole fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of fiber, another vital component to a well-rounded diet, whether it has gluten or not.
3. Cut Out Beer
Gluten can lurk in the most unlikely of places, including beverages. Drinks such as beer, which is derived from wheat, are full of gluten, so the bloated feeling after a night of drinks may not just be a result of the carbonation. If you still want to drink, distilled liquors such as vodka and gin are a gluten-free alternative to beer, and most wines are gluten-free as well.
4. Eat More Nuts And Seeds
Nuts and seeds are naturally gluten-free, and are a good source of zinc, calcium, and fiber, which are all components that gluten-free diets tend to fall short in. Nuts and seeds such as almonds, walnuts, and pistachios are all rich in these nutrients, and provide a convenient, gluten-free snack whenever you feel the urge to munch!
5. Limit Processed Foods
Many processed foods have gluten added for various benefits, including improved texture and extended shelf life. Processed foods that are gluten-free also tend to have more sugar, salt, and fat than their regular counterparts, meaning that even though they’re gluten-free, they’re not necessarily the better choice. Choosing whole foods over processed foods will lead to a healthier overall diet as well as one that’s lower in gluten.
Nutrients That Can Help
Celiac destroys the normal working structure of the intestinal surface which reduces the number of cells that can absorb nutrients. This can result in zinc deficiency as well as iron 2, B12, calcium 3, vitamin D, and copper. There are some alternative treatment options for Celiac Disease which you may want to consider, however you should always consult your doctor about any dietary or supplemental changes in your diet. Support for nutrient deficiency and gut health can be provided though vitamins, probiotics and a more wholistic approach to your health.
NATROL: Probiotics Well Belly: More than just a probiotic, Natrol’s Well Belly takes digestive health to the next level by combining hardy probiotics with key digestive enzymes. This powerful combination works in multiple ways to help defend against occasional gas, bloating and digestive discomfort.
Reducing gluten in your diet is not a difficult proposition, just one that requires some conscientious thought. Whether you have a gluten sensitivity or not, reducing gluten in your diet can relief symptoms of gas, bloating, and other discomfort after eating, and lead to a happier, more comfortable and healthy life.