A friend of mine, who unfortunately suffers from celiac disease, is on a gluten-free diet. Any time she is over, we eat a lot of salad. I didn’t want to ask because this person is always being inundated with questions about the disease, but after some research I discovered that gluten can really tear up the intestines of someone who shouldn’t be ingesting it. Gluten, as best as I can describe it to you, is a type of protein found in a lot of carbohydrates such as cereal, wheat and grain. For example, it gives bread the chewy texture that makes bread unique.
You Are What You Eat
So gluten is a good thing not to eat if you are sensitive to that type of thing. But what about the rest of us? Should we all lean toward being gluten-free? I think if you don’t focus so much on the gluten part and look at the big picture; there are some tangible benefits to a gluten-free diet regardless of whether or not you suffer from celiac disease.
A gluten-free diet can have a variety of health benefits, such as improving cholesterol levels, promoting digestive health, and increasing energy levels. Additionally, starting a gluten-free diet means you are eliminating a variety of foods from your diet that are unhealthy. For example anything that is fried and breaded would be off limits, and desserts high in sugar and fat would have to be removed from your diet as well.
The New Normal?
I went shopping the other day and was amazed at how many gluten-free selections there were. A gluten-free diet will force you to eat more fruits and vegetables, which you should be doing anyway. And by eating only gluten-free foods, you will also be eliminating unhealthy oils from your diet, as well as unhealthy carbohydrates found in bread products like doughnuts and pastries.
GlutenFree.com suggests that by eliminating gluten, and focusing on a gluten-free diet, “You can help reduce your risk of heart disease, certain cancers, and other health-related conditions, like diabetes.” You’ll also indirectly be helping your body ward off viruses and germs, just because many of the foods you eat will be full of antioxidants, and essential vitamins and minerals.
Read the Fine Print
So it might be worth a shot to go gluten-free. Many dieticians suggest you pay attention to the label of whatever it is that calls itself gluten-free. Sure, there’s no gluten but you might find higher levels of sugar and fat which kind of defeats the purpose. Combined with a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise and sensible living, a gluten-free diet might be just the thing your body needs.
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