There are those poor souls that have a serious issue with gluten. One bite of an ordinary piece of bread or pasta can keep them in the bathroom for hours. This population doesn’t need to be told the advantages of a gluten-free diet.
However, even if you don’t fall into this group, there can be many advantages to adopting a gluten-free diet. Your physical and mental health can be positively impacted. Your waistline might see an improvement, too.
The benefits of a gluten-free diet can be significant:
1. Foods with gluten are often processed and unhealthy. Gone are the days when bread and pasta are considered health foods. Not to mention the butter, cheeses, sauces, and other condiments that don’t support your health as well as many other options do.
- Foods high in gluten are often high in calories when eaten in typical quantities. How many rolls do you eat at Thanksgiving? How much lasagna do you eat when it’s served for dinner? Foods high in gluten often lead to overeating.
2. Many people don’t feel their best after eating a meal that contains gluten. There are many side effects that aren’t as dramatic as those suffered by someone with a gluten intolerance. In many people, gluten has been found to cause such issues as:
- Migraine headaches
- Skin problems
- Abdominal pain
- Brain fog
- Joint pain
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Behavioral issues
3. Going gluten-free can improve cholesterol levels. Studies have shown that a diet free of gluten often improves cholesterol levels. It is believed that removing processed carbohydrates and reducing inflammation are the reasons behind this.
4. Gluten-free foods can reduce inflammation all over your body. Inflammation is a large part of many disease processes, including heart disease.
5. A gluten-free diet can reduce arthritis symptoms. Anything that reduces inflammation can potentially reduce arthritis pain, too. If you suffer from joint pain, removing gluten from your diet is worth a try.
Gluten causes symptoms in many people that don’t even realize that gluten is the cause. Everyone should consider trying a gluten-free diet, even if it’s just for a week. If you’re sensitive to gluten, it won’t take long to see significant results. You have nothing to lose!
Starting a gluten-free diet is a simple process. Use these strategies:
1. Remove all sources of gluten from your diet. Anything that contains wheat contains gluten because gluten is part of wheat. It’s important to check labels, because many items contain wheat as a filler – even items you wouldn’t expect, such as some ice creams.
- Many of the most common sources of gluten are bread, many processed cereals, cookies, crackers, pancakes, and pasta.
- Unbreaded meat and seafood, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and beans are good options.
- If you want to make something that would normally have flour as an ingredient, many stores and online retailers offer a selection of alternative flours, such as almond, rice, or oat flour.
- If you go out to eat, you can avoid gluten by sticking with whole foods, such as meats, fruits, and vegetables, without added sauces.
2. See how you feel. If you have an issue with gluten, it will only take a few days to notice that you feel better.
3. Keep going. Assuming a few days without gluten was a positive experience, continue your experiment and see how much better you feel after a week, a month, or longer. Many people are surprised by how much better they feel, both physically and mentally.
A gluten-free diet won’t be of benefit to everyone, but many people will experience benefits by removing gluten from their diet. The physical and psychological benefits can be significant.
It’s worth the effort for everyone to try a gluten-free diet for a week. See how you feel and make an intelligent decision from there. You might find that giving up gluten is the best thing you’ve ever done for yourself.