There has been a lot of buzz about going on a gluten-free diet. But do you honestly know what it’s all about?
Gluten is actually a protein composite found in a lot of the food you eat. It’s found in different types of grains like wheat, barley, rye and spelt.
Unlike a lot of other trendy diets, going gluten-free is not just something you should do to reach your ideal weight or to finally get to your ideal size. Getting rid of your regular gluten intake can have a huge impact on your health, including your heart and especially on your digestive system.
Why You Should Consider A Gluten-Free Diet
Don’t be like many others who dismiss this gluten-free diet as just another passing trend. Gluten poses a lot of risks to your body and health, and can have a huge impact on the lifestyle you are enjoying right now.
To make it easier for you to understand just how important this is for you, here are a few reasons why you should start considering a gluten-free diet:
- Celiac disease is more common than ever, and you may not even know if you have it.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease where gluten causes your immune system to launch an attack not only against this protein composite, but against your intestinal wall as well. Because of how this severe form of gluten sensitivity causes your intestinal walls to degenerate, you will start experiencing other symptoms like fatigue, anemia, nutrient deficiency, and a number of digestive issues. All these will heighten the risks of you contracting other more serious diseases.
The worst part about it is that 80% of the people who have celiac disease do not even know that they have it. This is because the symptoms of the disease vary. Though it largely affects your digestive system, at times, you may not even show any abdominal symptoms at all.
Sure, it only affects around 1-2% of the population. But it is always better to be safe than to be sorry. Try avoiding gluten to help eliminate these risks.
- Gluten sensitivity is more common than celiac disease.
Just because only a small percentage of the people have celiac disease does not mean that the odds of you getting sick from gluten are astronomical. Celiac disease is just one form of gluten sensitivity – possibly the most rare. However, gluten sensitivity in general is a lot more common.
Basically, gluten sensitivity means that your system has adverse reactions every time gluten is introduced to it. Actually, 6-8% of people have active gluten sensitivity? But don’t rejoice just yet if you feel that this is still a small percentage.
Gastroenterologists say that 11% of people have antibodies working against gluten in their blood, while 29% have the same antibodies found in their stool samples. Also, it is discovered that people who have HLA-DQ8 and HLA-DQ2 in their genes are most susceptible to gluten sensitivity. 40% of the population has these genes.
Makes you wonder huh? Yes you need to be more educated about this matter.
- Gluten also affects people who do not have gluten sensitivity.
Studies were done on how different people with gluten sensitivity are from those who do not have it. Comparing people who suffered from irritable bowel syndrome, it was discovered that those who had gluten in their diet felt more pain, fatigue and bloating compared to those who had a gluten-free diet.
Other studies show that gluten causes inflammation to the intestine even if they do not show the usual signs of having gluten sensitivity.
- A number of brain disorders have been associated with the presence of gluten.
You may wonder what is the connection with knowing that gluten primarily affects the digestive system. Unfortunately, one particular study showed that 57% of patients who had an unknown neurological illness had antibodies working against gluten in their blood.
Cerebellar ataxia is a serious disease that affects one’s balance, movement, and other similar factors, including talking. A lot of cases of this disease have also been linked to the patients’ strong gluten consumption, as well as different forms of gluten sensitivity.
- Patients with different brain disorders have benefited greatly from having a gluten-free diet.
Although there are several other brain disorders whose occurrence is not exactly linked to gluten sensitivity, it cannot be denied that a gluten-free diet has greatly improved the state of patients who have them. Among the most noticeable effects would be in patients who have schizophrenia, epilepsy and autism. When gluten was removed from their diets, a lot of their symptoms were also reduced.
These are just 5 reasons why a gluten-free diet is necessary for people regardless of whether you have gluten sensitivity or not. There are a ton more!
Making the Switch Easy
Now here’s the huge problem. Because gluten appears in a lot of food you regularly consume, it’s not surprising that people think twice about taking the leap. But that’s okay, there’s so much you can do to make the switch easier. You may be thinking more about convenience over health. But remember that it’s harder to go back the moment your health takes that crucial turn towards a downward spin.
Here are a few tips the moment you decide to switch to a gluten-free diet:
- Use gluten-free substitutes to your usual food choices.
Who says you can’t eat bread, pasta, crackers and other gluten-rich food the moment you choose to go gluten-free? There are a lot of gluten-free options in a lot of health food stores, and even in a lot of the supermarkets you frequently visit. There are gluten-free pasta, breads, cereals, and lots more.
- Read food labels every time you shop.
There are laws that mandate food manufacturers to list down all the ingredients they use, as well as the nutritional content of any food. Always make it a habit to look out for things like barley, wheat, oats, rye, spelt, or any other kind of grain. Even if gluten is not specifically stated, these grains will most definitely contain gluten.
- Stock up on food that are naturally gluten-free.
You may assume that taking away all the gluten will leave you lacking in nourishment? But there are a lot of foods that do not have gluten, like poultry, meat, fish, vegetables, cheese, eggs, and a lot more. Taking away gluten wouldn’t be a huge loss, especially if you replace them with similar alternatives.
- Pick gluten-free grains.
Although a lot of grains contain gluten, there are a lot of others that are gluten-free. Polenta, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat (millet), corn and tapioca are naturally free of gluten. (I know you may not have heard of some of these food items, but it just means it’s time to learn.)
Going on a gluten-free diet does not mean having to deprive yourself of the good stuff.
Recognize that the option to go down a healthier path is never lacking in rewards!