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A whopping 20 million people in America alone suffer regularly after eating gluten. Could you be one of them?
Common symptoms like irritable bellies and gas could be due to gluten’s effects. But many people are unaware of what gluten actually is and how it affects them.
As gluten’s drawbacks are revealed, more and more people are questioning if they should stop eating it for their health. More energy, a smaller waistline, and even better-behaved kids have all been attributed to gluten free diets.
Are you curious about cutting gluten out of your diet? Then keep reading to find out the many benefits of going gluten free.
The Issue With Gluten
Is gluten actually bad for you? This is a question that many people have. Gluten itself is a protein that is present in many things, especially baked goods and pasta. It makes bread and other foods chewy and elastic.
You may be surprised to find out that gluten is actually completely indigestible. According to the Mayo Clinic, it can cause inflammation in the average person’s intestines.
The thing about eating pasta that contains gluten is you could be gluten sensitive and not even realize. Many people are unaware that gluten causes them problems and attribute its effects to other causes.
Inflammatory Diseases and Autoimmune Disorders
For people with celiac disease, gluten causes painful symptoms when it’s eaten. Even the smallest amount of gluten, such as that in a salad crouton, can’t be tolerated.
The main issue for celiac sufferers is the irritation of the lining of the small intestine.
This lining is covered in tiny projections called villi. They help the body to absorb nutrients. In people with celiac disease, the immune system attacks the villi. If this goes on long enough, the villi will be destroyed or severely damaged.
What’s more, the nutrients from the food will not be absorbed. If you’ve noticed symptoms like gas or bloating after eating gluten, it’s best to see your doctor.
A simple blood test can check for antibodies against a certain protein. To confirm the diagnosis, a biopsy of the intestine is performed.
Other diseases and disorders
For those afflicted with irritable bowel syndrome or IBS, a change in the way they eat is often the only thing that will help. Removing gluten is part of adopting a low FODMAP diet. This type of diet is often prescribed for people with IBS.
FODMAP is small carbohydrates. The initials stand for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. These aren’t absorbed properly in the gut and cause uncomfortable symptoms.
People with Crohn’s disease and lupus should also see if a wheat free diet can help their symptoms. Crohn’s is a disease of the digestive system and lupus is an autoimmune disease.
Both of these disorders, however, have inflammation of the joints in common. Other disorders like rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia can also be helped with a gluten free diet.
Even if you don’t have any of the above disorders, you can still be affected by gluten. There’s a condition called non-celiac gluten sensitivity that causes symptoms just like celiac disease. It just doesn’t cause intestinal damage.
Benefits for Children
For children, the benefits of a gluten free way of eating could be phenomenal.
Some who have been diagnosed with autism have shown improvement. If you do decide to cut out pasta, they can still enjoy pasta alternatives. These alternatives could be much healthier for growing kids.
How To Go Gluten Free
Adults can also struggle when cutting out gluten. So you don’t get frustrated and give up on your gluten free diet, you should keep these tips in mind.
Firstly, remember that gluten is in other foods, not just pasta and breads. There’s gluten in beer, cereals, and many more food products. Gluten is a part of the ingredients in soy sauce, some pre packaged vegetables, and even medications.
Also, keep in mind that you’ll need to eat a balanced diet and avoid nutritional deficiencies. Many of the breads and cereals you currently eat are made from fortified flour that contains B vitamins.
You can find many cereals and breads made from alternatives to wheat flour. However, some of these gluten free substitutes are not fortified with vitamins.
If you are planning to become pregnant, you’ll need to stock up on vitamin B9, i.e, folic acid. If you want to be extra safe, try a gluten free multivitamin to make sure all your nutritional needs are being met.
Another area to be mindful of is your intake of dietary fiber.
You need to have a good source of fiber to keep your bowels working smoothly. Whole wheat has fiber, but you can get gluten free fiber from fruits, vegetables and grains like quinoa or brown rice.
What Types of Gluten Free Foods are Available?
Many people who cut out gluten worry that they won’t be able to eat their favorite foods. However, there are plenty of healthy alternatives that don’t sacrifice taste.
If you’re a pasta lover you definitely don’t have to worry. Thanks to the variety of products out there you can still enjoy pasta on a gluten free diet. Many of the ingredients in these pastas are much healthier than plain wheat flour.
There are lots of delicious gluten free pasta recipes for you to try. Dishes like rice noodle vegetable fusilli or mac and cheese made from chickpea reginette, for example. Even a classic fettuccine alfredo can be made with no gluten.
Shopping for Gluten Free Products
There are so many benefits to going gluten free. Hopefully, now you understand how cutting out gluten can help you and your family live a healthier life.