Will going gluten-free make a difference in how you look and feel? While this lifestyle change isn’t appropriate for everyone, it can help some people improve their health and well-being.
What is gluten? Gluten is a term that describes proteins found in wheat, rye, barley, and triticale. It acts like glue, helping the food maintain its shape. Common foods with gluten include pastas, pretzels, baked goods, ramen and egg noodles, cereals, and flour tortillas.
Gluten causes reactions in those with celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that impacts about 1 in 100 Americans . It produces unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms, but it also increases the risk for other conditions, including arthritis, iron-deficiency anemia, depression, anxiety, and migraines. Relieving these symptoms is among the top gluten-free benefits.
However, gluten can trigger uncomfortable symptoms even if you don’t have celiac disease. Some people struggle with a gluten intolerance that causes the body to produce an immune response to gluten. Others live with a wheat allergy that causes similar symptoms . One primary difference between gluten sensitivity and celiac disease is that sensitivity doesn’t result in long-term damage to the small intestine.
To learn more, check out these 7 Benefits of a Gluten-Free Diet.
1. You may find relief from gastrointestinal gluten intolerance symptoms.
Digestive issues, like bloating, abdominal cramping, diarrhea, and gas, are common in those with gluten intolerance. Start relieving symptoms with our 7-Day Gluten-Free Meal Plan or use gluten-free flour in this tasty Baked Parmesan Chicken.
2. You’ll benefit from fewer processed foods.
A gluten-free diet guides you toward less-processed foods and meals, which are often high in gluten. By avoiding highly-processed foods, you’ll also miss out on added refined sugar, sodium, calories, and additives. Focus on minimally-processed or whole foods, like those on our Gluten-Free Foods Shopping List.
3. You’ll make positive changes in your body.
The shift to a gluten-free lifestyle often includes more recipes rich in fruits and vegetables. Diets rich in whole, healthy foods may help lower bad cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Try 26 Gluten-Free Foods the Whole Family Will Enjoy.
4. You’ll put more pep in your step.
Unhealthy gluten foods weigh you down and sap your energy with bad carbohydrates. Get your day off to a fabulous start with 6 Quick and Easy Gluten-Free Breakfast Menus.
5. You may lose weight.
Healthy gluten-free foods, particularly fruits and veggies, help you cut calories and increase dietary fiber, which is an important weight loss nutrient. Try 10 Gluten-Free Entrees Under 287 Calories.
6. You may get clearer skin.
For some people, gluten triggers skin inflammation that results in acne, eczema, or psoriasis. Gluten-free foods are free of those allergens. Check out these Tips for Great Gluten-Free Cooking.
7. You might reduce or eliminate acid reflux.
Those with gluten sensitivity might experience acid reflux, an uncomfortable condition that can lead to a damaged esophagus. If you struggle with acid reflux, one of the top gluten-free benefits may be relief. Nosh the tasty way with 25 Gluten-Free Snack Ideas or Gluten-Free Cheesy Garlic Cauliflower Bread Sticks.
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