The Benefits Of A Gluten-Free Diet

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve surely heard people talking about going gluten-free. From high-profile celebrities to your neighbors, it seems like everybody is suddenly committed to ditching gluten for good.

Despite the gluten-free diet being constantly discussed on talk shows and in health magazines, it can still be pretty confusing. What exactly is gluten? Is gluten really that bad for you? Luckily, we’ve got all the answers.

What is Gluten?

Gluten refers to a type of protein that is found in certain grains like wheat, rye, barley and oats. Gluten is what gives dough its elasticity. Therefore, popular foods like breads and pastas rely on gluten for a soft, chewy texture.

Some people mistakenly believe that all grains contain gluten. In fact, there are numerous grains that are naturally gluten-free. Rice, buckwheat, quinoa, cornmeal and teff are all gluten-free grains.

How Does Gluten Affect the Body?

The proteins in gluten have a tendency to inflame the intestines. This is because the immune system views gluten proteins as a threat and responds as though the body is in danger of infection.

When the intestines are inflamed, the walls of the intestines become weaker. As a result, toxins can easily pass into the bloodstream. We all digest toxins in the form of bacteria and other microbes on a daily basis. When the digestive system is healthy, these toxins simply make their way through the digestive tract and out of the body. However, when the intestinal walls are damaged, these toxins can enter the bloodstream and result in bodily infections.

Because gluten is capable of inflaming the intestines, the immune system responds by attacking the body’s digestive system. When the immune system is attacking the body, the entire body can become inflamed. This is why many people develop rashes, acne, moodiness and brain fog as the result of frequent gluten consumption. When the body is in an inflamed state, the body’s ability to perform basic processes is compromised.

Plus, gluten’s elastic, glue-like consistency is difficult for many people to digest. Therefore, for many, the consumption of gluten can result in uncomfortable bloating and constipation.

Celiac Disease

It’s important to note that while almost everyone is negatively affected by gluten to some degree, some people are genuinely allergic to gluten. Celiac disease is a digestive and autoimmune disease that causes the sufferer to experience numerous potentially dangerous physical symptoms as the result of digesting gluten.

These symptoms can include weight loss, chronic diarrhea, seizures, migraines, joint pain and depression. If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to see your doctor so that you can discover whether or not you have celiac disease.

How to Maintain a Gluten-Free Diet
Many people refuse to commit to a gluten-free diet because they don’t want to give up their favorite foods. However, as more and more studies are revealing the negative effects of gluten, food companies are developing gluten-free alternatives to popular food products.

For instance, almost every grocery store now sells gluten-free pastas. Instead of containing wheat or semolina flour, these pastas are made with other grains like rice, corn or quinoa.

Many people enjoy cereal or a hot bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. If you need your grains first thing in the morning but want to avoid gluten, opt for gluten free protein bars like the ones made by Viance. These will fill you up without putting you at risk of the side effects of gluten.

Summary

In recent years, more and more people have been ditching gluten for good. Luckily, as science continues to prove that gluten can be the cause of many health problems, it’s easier than ever to find delicious gluten-free alternatives to your favorite foods in the grocery store.