Benefits of Eating Gluten-Free
There’s a lot of hype surrounding “gluten-free” diets these days. But why are these diets necessary and are they actually beneficial? Here’s what you need to know:
What Is Gluten?
Before we get into the benefits of eating gluten-free, what is gluten, anyway? Gluten is a protein that’s found in many grain products, including things like wheat, barley, and rye which means that it’s in popular food items like bread, pasta, and cereal. And while these food items might taste good, gluten doesn’t actually provide the body with any essential nutrients whatsoever.
What Are Some Potential Issues With Gluten?
Even though gluten doesn’t provide the body with any nutrients, it still has the potential to cause problems. For example, people with celiac disease actually have an intolerance to gluten wherein consuming gluten triggers an immune reaction that leads to inflammation and internal damage to the intestines and other bodily systems.
It’s estimated that about 1% of the population has celiac disease and, therefore, a gluten intolerance. On the other hand, it’s estimated that about 7% of the population has a gluten sensitivity wherein they get all the symptoms of celiac disease but without a positive test result.
How to Know If You Have Issues With Gluten?
Speaking of test results, how can you determine if you have issues with gluten — whether it’s intolerance or just sensitivity? Blood tests can be used to diagnose celiac disease that indicates gluten intolerance. These tests either look for antibodies or antigens in your blood. If these blood tests come back positive for celiac disease, your doctor will likely order an endoscopy to verify the results and check for damages.
Unfortunately, you’re not able to test for gluten sensitivity. However, there are questionnaires that you can take that can help you determine if you do indeed have a gluten sensitivity.
Why Should You Eat a Gluten-Free Diet?
If you have celiac disease or suspect that you may have a gluten sensitivity, then the best course of action is to eat a strict gluten-free diet. This allows you to avoid potentially damaging inflammation in your gastrointestinal system and other bodily systems. That being said, eating a gluten-free diet does more than help you avoid issues — it also provides real benefits!
- Promotes weight loss: Following a gluten-free diet may help promote healthy weight loss. Since gluten provides no real nutritional value, it doesn’t need to be in your diet anyway. Food items with gluten may also contain high amounts of carbohydrates, fats, and sugars that can slow down your weight loss journey. As a result, cutting it out can help you lose weight.
- Improves energy levels: Following a gluten-free diet may help improve your energy levels if you have gluten intolerance or sensitivity. This is because gluten triggers inflammation that can then make it more difficult for your intestines to absorb nutrients that power your body. Without these nutrients, you likely feel frequent fatigue and exertion intolerance.
- Improves frequent headaches: Following a gluten-free diet may also help improve frequent headaches that those with gluten intolerance or sensitivity are more prone to. The connection between the gut and the brain isn’t quite clear, but studies have shown that a gluten-free diet can lead to fewer headaches.
- Boosts mood: Another connection that isn’t fully understood is the connection between the gut and your mood. Those with celiac disease are more prone to depression, and switching to a gluten-free diet can help improve depression symptoms and boost your overall mood.
- Improves skin health: Following a gluten-free diet may help improve your gut health, mental health, and now skin health! Those with celiac disease are prone to developing irritating and unsightly rashes like eczema and psoriasis. So before you reach for expensive creams and skincare products, consider cutting gluten from your diet to reduce inflammation and rashes.
- Strengthens your bones: As you now know, gluten intolerance or sensitivity can quickly lead to malnutrition as your body is unable to properly absorb nutrients. This can then lead to vitamin deficiencies that can weaken your bones and make you more prone to breaks.
- Helps your hair: Another annoying symptom of nutrient deficiency is hair loss. Cutting out gluten can help your intestines function better and better absorb the nutrients you need for strong and healthy hair.
The Best Gluten-Free Foods to Add to Your Diet
While maintaining a gluten-free diet for the rest of your life due to celiac disease or gluten sensitivity may seem like an impossible feat, it’s actually quite possible with the right amounts of diligence, planning, and creativity.
There are tons of delicious gluten-free foods out there for you to incorporate into your diet. Specifically, you should try to eat a lot of fruits, vegetables, beans, seeds, legumes, nuts, eggs, meats, and dairy products. On the other hand, you should avoid products with gluten like bread, cake, pie, cookies, pasta, and chips.
If you have a sweet tooth, ditching cakes, pies, and cookies permanently would be devastating. The good news is that you don’t have to ditch these items completely thanks to healthy gluten-free cookies and sweets from Bougie Bakes.
Bougie Bakes is here to provide you with the sweets you need with none of the gluten, dairy, or sugar that can hurt your body. We have tons of different options to choose from including brownies, cookies, and mini muffins in a variety of different flavors including pumpkin, peanut butter, chocolate, and more.
The Rundown on Gluten
As you can see, eating gluten-free can benefit more than just your gut — it can also benefit your mind, skin, and hair. So if you want to cut out gluten but are unsure if you can manage it, check out delicious gluten-free alternatives from health-conscious companies like Bougie Bakes.