What you eat can help with colon issues – and going gluten-free can benefit your entire self in a variety of ways.
What is a Gluten-Free Diet?
A gluten-free diet is one that excludes the protein gluten. Gluten is found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye, and their derivatives, so in order to follow a gluten-free diet you must avoid foods and products that contain these grains.
Here’s what you can and cannot consume on a gluten-free diet:
Foods to Enjoy:
- Naturally gluten-free grains: Rice, corn, quinoa, and oats (ensure they are certified gluten-free)
- Fruits and vegetables
- Lean proteins: Meat, poultry, fish, and legumes
- Dairy products (unless they have added thickeners with gluten).
Foods to Avoid:
- Wheat-based products: Bread, pasta, and most cereals
- Barley and rye: Beer, malt, and certain types of cereal
- Processed foods (Many contain hidden sources of gluten, so reading labels is essential.)
The 3 Most Important Things to Know about Going Gluten-Free
Knowing these key aspects will help you successfully navigate a gluten-free lifestyle while maintaining your health and well-being:
1. Understanding What Contains Gluten
It’s crucial to learn which foods and products contain gluten. This includes not only obvious sources like wheat, barley, and rye but also hidden sources in processed foods, sauces, and condiments (because ultra-processed foods can affect your gut health). Reading ingredient labels is essential to avoid accidental gluten consumption.
2. Cross-Contamination Awareness
Cross-contamination can occur when gluten-free foods come into contact with gluten-containing items, such as shared kitchen utensils or cooking surfaces. It’s essential to take precautions to prevent cross-contamination, especially if you have Celiac disease.
3. Balanced Nutrition
Going gluten-free should not mean sacrificing essential nutrients. Make sure to maintain a balanced diet by incorporating gluten-free grains, such as rice and quinoa, and by eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and dairy products. Consult with your doctor before you make any dietary changes, and ensure you’re getting all the necessary nutrients on a gluten-free diet.
Why Go Gluten-Free?
A gluten-free diet is crucial for individuals diagnosed with Celiac disease.
- Reducing Symptoms. Some individuals experience symptoms like bloating, fatigue, and digestive discomfort when consuming gluten, which highlights the importance of a gluten-free diet to alleviate these symptoms.
- Improved Digestive Health: A gluten-free diet can lead to improved digestive health by reducing inflammation and promoting a healthier gut. This can benefit those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other gastrointestinal conditions.
- Reduced Risk of Autoimmune Diseases: Emerging research suggests that gluten may play a role in the development of autoimmune diseases. Going gluten-free may help reduce the risk of such conditions or even manage existing autoimmune diseases.
- Weight Management: Many individuals find that a gluten-free diet aids in weight management and may even help with weight loss, as it encourages the consumption of whole, unprocessed foods, which are often leaner and healthier.
- Enhanced Mental Clarity: Some people report improved mental clarity and reduced brain fog on a gluten-free diet. This could be linked to the reduced inflammation and better absorption of nutrients.
- Skin Health: Skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis, may improve when gluten is eliminated from the diet.
Find out if a gluten-free diet is right for you
If you suspect you may have Celiac disease or have concerns about your digestive health, schedule a visit with our experienced gastrointestinal doctors at Gastrointestinal Specialists, P.C. in Troy, Mich. Our team can provide guidance and support in making dietary choices that are best for your health, and diagnose and treat any digestive conditions you may be dealing with.