The Gluten-Free Craze
To some the word gluten-free (GF) is just a buzz word seen frequently in the media or the next fad diet to try. To others it is a lifestyle to prevent stomach (GI) upset, weakness or a wide array of other symptoms.
Whether you would like to lead a healthier lifestyle by incorporating more gluten-free items into your diet or choose to eliminate gluten completely due to Celiac Disease, or other symptoms that cause discomfort, continue reading to discover some healthy, simple, GF tips.
People with celiac disease cannot tolerate gluten, not even in small amounts. In people with celiac disease, gluten in the bloodstream triggers an immune response that damages the lining of the small intestine. This can interfere with the absorption of nutrients from food, and can cause a host of critical symptoms.
Gluten sensitivity or non-celiac gluten sensitivity can generate symptoms similar to celiac disease but without the intestinal damage.
The abundance of GF products stretching beyond their health food store barriers is a blessing for people with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Gluten free products can be found in supermarket aisles and many restaurants now offer gluten-free options.
Aside from the many different GF products produced such as breads, crackers, and pretzels, many people seem to forget the vast amount of naturally gluten free foods that can promote increased health and well-being and may even lead to weight loss. With that said individuals without celiac disease or gluten sensitivity do not need to avoid gluten free products all together because doing so will not result in any nutritional benefits.
It is important to know that consuming high amounts of processed gluten free foods can set you up for some nutritional deficiencies. Breads made with white rice, tapioca, and other gluten-free flours are becoming more common, they are generally not fortified with vitamins as compared to wheat breads on the market. Certain gluten-free products tend to contain significant amounts of saturated fats and cholesterol as compared to their counterparts.
Here are some helpful tips to live gluten-free:
Most grains are gluten-free. The grains on the left are gluten-free whole grains, when they are consumed with all of their bran, germ and endosperm.
|Gluten-free whole grains:||Healthy naturally gluten-free products:|
|They are rich in fiber, antioxidants and minerals such as calcium, magnesium and selenium and vitamins B6, E and niacin.||Legumes|
|Low-fat Dairy Products|
Quote from the whole grain council:
“Whole grains are generally chewier than refined grains and have a nuttier, fuller flavor. You are your family may find this unfamiliar at first. But after a month or two, refined grains may start to taste very plain and uninteresting by contrast. Stick with it until your palate adjusts, and reap the health benefits.”
Hallie Berger is an intern with the Harrington Hospital Dietary Department. She completed her undergraduate in nutrition at Westchester University in Pennsylvania and takes a personal interest in gluten free and allergy education. She enjoys karaoke and refereeing soccer. Since moving to Massachusetts, her new favorite restaurant is EVO in Worcester.