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Gluten Guide

Eliminating gluten from your diet is more than a fad – it can have a real effect on your health, especially if you are diagnosed with an allergy

The effects of gluten can have a big impact on daily life. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Celiac disease is a genetic disorder in which consumption of gluten causes the body to attack its own cells, damaging the intestines and leading to nutrient deficiencies and other health problems.

If a person has been diagnosed with celiac disease, they would need to eliminate gluten entirely from their diet to prevent health complications.

Gluten sensitivity is a different issue. Although the effects of gluten such as bloating, diarrhea and foggy brain are similar to celiac disease, no damage is done to the intestines since gluten sensitivity isn’t an autoimmune disorder.

People often self-diagnose this when they shouldn’t, if you think you have gluten sensitivity, you need to go to a doctor. An elimination diet to test the effects of gluten can be done under the supervision of a health professional.

A person who does not have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity has no reason to eliminate gluten from his or her diet. If you go without it, you risk depriving your body of these nutrients, vitamins and minerals found in foods that contain gluten:

  • Fiber

  • Iron

  • Calcium

  • Magnesium

  • Zinc

  • Vitamin D

  • B vitamins such as folate, niacin, riboflavin and B12

These things help your body in everything from balancing cholesterol and preventing anemia, to keeping bones strong and maintaining metabolism.

On the other hand, if you have received either diagnosis, you must be sure to carefully read product labels.

Wheat is one of the seven common allergens that are listed on a food. On the back, under the ingredients label, it will say, ‘Contains: Wheat.’

But those with celiac disease will also have to figure out if the product contains barley, rye or triticale, which is a hybrid of wheat and rye.

Your doctor will give you information on the gluten-free food and supplements that will provide you with the vitamins, minerals and nutrients you need to stay healthy and avoid the effects of gluten. Items including green leafy veggies, lean meats, nuts and beans and legumes in their juice are a few alternatives.

Filling your plate with gluten-free nutrient-dense foods like sweet potatoes and lentils and keeping to a well-rounded fitness regimen that includes calisthenics, strength training will also definitely go a long way.

We need to be more careful with ingredients overall. Ask yourself: ‘Am I living healthier, or am I just eating crap and blaming it on gluten?


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