You may wonder, “why gluten-free?” and “is gluten-free healthy?”. For many people with gluten sensitivity and celiac disease, a gluten-free diet can make a positive difference in health and appearance.
Gluten can exist in foods in both obvious and hidden ways, and while people with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity should cut out all sources of gluten in their diet, if you do not have either of these conditions, a gluten-free diet can still benefit you!
Below are some reasons why gluten-free is good for you.
What are the Benefits of a Gluten-Free Diet?
Some of the major benefits of gluten-free dieting include reduction in physical and mental health issues, including improved digestion, skin, mood swings, joint pain, headaches and weight loss.
Especially in people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, cutting out gluten benefits digestion, can make a massive improvement to decrease these symptoms and can support long term health.
May Relieve Digestive Symptoms
Digestive disruptions are the most common symptoms associated with celiac disease, due to the inflammation that occurs in the small intestine.
For people with celiac disease, consumption of gluten creates an autoimmune reaction, that results in destruction of the small intestine’s villi, microscopic finger-like structures that absorb nutrients.
This reaction causes inflammation, which can lead to some of the most common digestive symptoms associated with celiac disease, such as bloating and digestive discomfort.
Going gluten-free benefits your digestive tract, if you have a physical reaction to consuming gluten containing products, by eliminating or minimizing this exposure and the resulting bodily response.
Furthermore, many junk foods contain gluten, and eliminating highly processed foods with high levels of sugar can benefit your digestion, even if you do not have a reaction to gluten.
May Boost Energy
One of the most common symptoms of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity is fatigue. Fatigue can be understood as extremely low energy and feeling overtired; and, while it does not intrinsically signal a chronic condition, fatigue is associated with a wide variety of health problems.
Some believe gluten is good for you and that gluten containing food is not only filling, but essential to promote energy. However, this is not entirely true. Many foods that contain gluten, such as pasta, pizza, cakes, bread products, and junk food style chips, do not actually promote higher energy levels.
Is a gluten-free diet healthy? In most cases, yes, because it can remove many unhealthy foods from your current diet and restrict access to easy treats that do not benefit your health or energy levels.
In fact, switching a slice of bread or bowl of pasta for vegetables can provide equivalent carbohydrates, while also being lower in calories, easier for the body to digest, and containing more vitamins and minerals that your body needs to maintain energy.
However, if you continue to consume gluten substitute products, such as gluten-free bread, pasta, and cake mix, you may still encounter the problem of lower energy. We recommend enhancing your diet with a wide variety of vegetables high in carbohydrates to get the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients needed for complete daily energy.
Can Help to Lose Weight
Why go gluten-free if you do not have a reaction to gluten? Weight loss can be a massive benefit to the gluten-free diet, even for people who do not have celiac disease.
Though, losing weight on a gluten-free diet very much depends on the person. In a family where everyone is allergic to gluten or has celiac disease, one person can gain weight, and another can lose weight.
If you are not allergic to gluten, it is likely that one will lose weight. Still, if you are severely allergic to gluten, in which gluten would impair your body’s ability to absorb nutrients, you could gain healthy weight.
Many people wonder, “is a gluten-free diet healthy?” or “is a gluten-free diet better for you?” Even if you are not allergic, going gluten-free can result in healthy lifestyle changes.
Many sugary and low nutritional foods, such as pasta, bread, cake, and pizza, contain gluten. One of the most encouraging benefits of gluten-free dieting, even if you are not celiac positive or have non celiac gluten sensitivity, is that a lot of junk food and easy meals contain gluten.
Thus, cutting or reducing dishes such as fast-food and bread from your meal plan can improve the balance of your diet.
Especially when eating out, switching your meal from a pasta dish to a vegetable stir fry to adhere to the gluten-free diet can be a great way to lose weight. The benefits of a gluten-free diet for non-celiac people can be rewarding, especially if you consume a lot of gluten containing filler foods.
Improves skin health
One of the huge benefits of going gluten-free is experiencing improved skin health, especially if you have a gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.
Some of these benefits include reduced breakouts, skin clearing and healing more quickly, less ashy skin texture, and a slicker and more agile appearance.
Gluten-free makeup products can also be used to reduce skin symptoms, especially if you accidentally ingest your makeup or have open sores on your face.
In some cases, consuming gluten when your body has a negative reaction to it can result in a ghostly skin tone and gaunt appearance, with exterior wounds healing much slower than if you were gluten-free.
In people with celiac disease, there is an autoimmune response to gluten, resulting in immune system compromise. Nevertheless, going gluten-free can reduce and eventually eliminate this negative reaction, taking pressure off the immune system to result in faster healing.
Can Reduce the Frequency of Headaches
A large number of people who suffer from gluten sensitivity or celiac disease have a great deal of experience dealing with chronic headaches or even migraines.
Headache is one of the most widespread symptoms of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, with about 26% of adults and 18% of child patients reporting headaches after consumption of gluten.
The cause of headaches from celiac disease and gluten sensitivity are currently unknown, but likely related to the body’s reaction, both neural and immune, when gluten is consumed.
Migraines are also more common in people with celiac disease, with consumption of gluten being the primary trigger of these debilitating headaches.
Luckily, one of the huge gluten-free health benefits is reducing the severity, frequency, or even complete resolution of headaches. About 75% of people that tested positive for celiac disease experienced reduced headaches after starting the gluten-free diet.
Improves bone health
Issues with bone health and growth are a very serious complication of celiac disease and can leave lasting impacts on the body.
In people with celiac disease, consuming gluten can damage the villi of the small intestine, and lead to malnutrition. Absorbing the required nutrients is key to healthy bone development.
One of the primary nutrients that celiac sufferers struggle with absorbing is calcium, which is essential to healthy bone growth and maintenance of bone density. Osteoporosis is a major complication of celiac disease; and, if left untreated, can cause damage to your bones later in life.
Another complication of celiac disease in children is short stature, which can also be attributed to a lack of essential nutrients, such as calcium, for bone growth and development. Teeth enamel can also be impacted by this calcium deficit in the body and can result in a lack of enamel strength and density.
While removing gluten from your diet can benefit calcium absorption, we also recommend calcium supplements, especially for those with lactose intolerance and newly diagnosed celiac children, until the body is further healed.
May Reduce Depression
If you have a reaction to gluten, you may also experience mental fatigue, which is accurately called “brain fog”. Brain fog can make it difficult to focus and drain your energy and make it harder to enjoy life.
Going gluten-free can reduce mental fatigue and result in more energy, which can alleviate some symptoms of depression. Furthermore, there is a rare disease that goes hand in hand with celiac called gluten ataxia.
Gluten ataxia is different because of the immune response to ingesting gluten targets not only the small intestine lining but also the nervous system.
With gluten ataxia, the impact on the nervous system can cause chemical imbalances in the brain and result in psychiatric symptoms.
Especially in people with ADHD who also have celiac disease (which are linked to each other), are linked to each other) depression and anxiety can occur more frequently.
Both celiac disease and gluten sensitivity have also been linked to depression, mood disorders, autism, anxiety, and even schizophrenia.
After being prescribed and sticking with a gluten-free diet, many of these symptoms were significantly improved, or even disappeared altogether, resulting in a reduction of prescription medication use.
May Reduce Lactose Intolerance
Some people with celiac disease may also suffer from lactose intolerance. So, is gluten-free good for you if you are experiencing symptoms of lactose intolerance? The answer is maybe.
If you are experiencing lactose intolerance, it may be due to ripple effects from celiac disease.
This is because the damage that celiac autoimmune reaction inflicts on the lining of the small intestine also impacts lactase production, which is essential to break down milk proteins, primarily lactose.
Inability to process dairy products can further contribute to issues with bone health, as many as easy sources of high calcium foods.
After going on a gluten-free diet and allowing time for the lining of the small intestine to heal, some people are able to consume lactose-containing foods again without complication.
Reduces Hair Loss
Hair loss can occur in some people that have celiac disease, due to malnutrition that can happen if the digestive system is unable to absorb enough nutrients. In most cases, this malnutrition only results in hair thinning, reduced hair health, and slower hair growth.
In some situations, the lack of nutrients shows itself as breakage, resulting in the appearance of ample “baby hairs” across the scalp.
Nonetheless, having one autoimmune disorder, such as celiac disease, means you have a higher risk of developing or having another immune disease.
People who test positive for celiac disease have a higher risk of developing alopecia areata, a disease in which your immune system stacks hair follicles and can result in varying degrees of hair loss.
Furthermore, there is also a higher risk of celiac patients developing thyroid issues, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which can also result in hair loss.
Even if you do not have celiac disease, a gluten-free diet benefits hair growth, and allows it to return to full health.
Reduces joint pain
Chronic joint pain and arthritis can be incredibly painful and debilitating, but a gluten-free, low carb diet, is linked to improvement in joint pain symptoms.
As you digest gluten containing foods, gluten proteins can leach into your blood, meaning that inflammation can occur in parts of your body other than your digestive tract.
Celiac disease is linked to worsening arthritis symptoms. Furthermore, gluten in general is thought to be a factor in general arthritis, as foods high in carbohydrates, which are most gluten containing foods, can inflame the joints. So, is gluten-free better for you if you suffer from chronic joint pain?
Yes. One of the benefits of a gluten-free diet for arthritis patients, even if they do not have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, is that the diet plan often involves minimizing foods that could cause or worsen joint pain.
A gluten-free diet may not be for everyone, but for those with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, going gluten-free can make a huge difference in your daily life, and drastically improve your health.
Even if you are not a celiac disease positive, reducing or removing gluten from your diet could produce amazing health benefits.
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