When to go Gluten Free
Gluten-free foods have become a rage and there is plenty of debate regarding the health benefits and risks of going gluten free, even if you don’t have gluten intolerance. However, a gluten-free diet is an absolute must for those suffering from celiac disease or gluten intolerance. People with celiac disease cannot tolerate gluten, not even small amounts.
In these people gluten triggers an immune response that damages the lining of the small intestine. This can interfere with the absorption of nutrients from food, cause a host of symptoms, and lead to other problems like osteoporosis, infertility, nerve damage, and seizures. A related condition called gluten sensitivity or non-celiac gluten sensitivity can generate symptoms like celiac disease but without the intestinal damage.
There are plenty of myths about the gluten-free diet but the one thing that is certain is that it offers tremendous health benefits for those with gluten intolerance or celiac disease. Here are a few of the health benefits of following a gluten-free diet.
Improves energy levels
People who have gluten sensitivity often suffer from chronic fatigue. This is because consuming gluten products damages their intestines which in turn impairs the absorption of several nutrients including iron. This iron deficiency leads to anaemia which results in debilitating fatigue and exertion intolerance. Switching to a gluten-free diet, will give your intestines a chance to heal and this will restore nutrient absorption and improve your energy levels.
Promotes healthy weight gain
The symptoms of celiac disease and gluten intolerance include diarrhoea, bloating, gas and fatigue – which can seem rather vague and so the condition can go undiagnosed for decades. This results in nutritional deficiencies and in many cases, severe and uncontrolled weight loss. A gluten-free diet will help you regain lost weight as well as eliminate these nutritional deficiencies.
Reduces joint pain
Celiac disease and gluten intolerance are generally associated with the gastrointestinal tract, but they can have far reaching effects. Since celiac disease causes an abnormal immune reaction, it increases the risk of inflammation. Therefore, joint pain, especially in the knees, back and wrists is a common symptom of celiac disease. A gluten-free diet will help to prevent this type of joint pain but take steps to ensure that you do not ingest even a small amount of gluten as it can result in a recurrence of your symptoms. Undiagnosed celiac disease patients often suffer from severe calcium deficiencies due to the malabsorption of nutrients. This calcium malabsorption is linked to an increased risk of bone problems such as osteoporosis and osteopenia. However, researchers found that celiac patients who followed a gluten free diet experienced significant improvement in bone mineral density.
Reduces the frequency of headaches
Over the last couples of decades, scientists have discovered that the gut and brain are closely connected and there are several studies underway to discover the exact implications of this gut-brain connection. People with gluten intolerance and celiac disease are more likely to experience migraine headaches. However, studies show that switching to a gluten-free diet can help to reduce the frequency of these headaches.
[ Also read: Best drinks to have on Keto & Low Carbohydrate Diets ]
People with celiac disease are more likely to suffer from depression. However, researchers found that following a gluten free diet has a favourable effect on depression symptoms and can help to improve a patient’s quality of life. These people also are at a higher risk for rashes, including eczema and psoriasis. Following a gluten free diet can help to improve your overall skin health and even eliminate these skin problems. Celiac disease and gluten intolerance have been linked to nutritional deficiencies which in turn cause hair loss. Starting a gluten free diet can help to reverse this type of hair loss, increase hair density, and improve hair texture.
These are very good reasons to go gluten-free and enjoy the benefits of better digestion, lower cholesterol levels, increased intake of antioxidants and vitamins that make you feel a lot more energetic and not so sluggish. But on a caution if you have celiac decease or gluten sensitivity it is best to go gluten free but, if you think you might have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, it’s best to see a doctor before you go gluten free.