Most people think that if they haven’t been diagnosed with coeliac disease or with a gluten intolerance condition, they can’t benefit from including more gluten-free foods into their diet. Well, we can confirm that that’s not completely true. There are a number of advantages that come with lowering the amount of gluten you regularly consume.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and sometimes oats. It can also be found in many of our favourite starchy carbohydrates, such as bread and pasta. It is a perfectly natural protein, however, people with coeliac disease, gluten intolerance or dermatitis herpetiformis, can react really badly if they eat it.
It’s important to mention that whilst we advocate for a low-gluten diet, we must preface these tips with a disclaimer; these benefits can apply to people with or without coeliac disease. We will provide quick tips on how to swap out foods with gluten, for foods without it. So, if you’ve recently experienced any symptoms linked to gluten intolerance, you may require a much stricter gluten-free diet. Visit the NHS site for a full definition of the coeliac disease, a list of symptoms and comprehensive info on treatments & diet.
Before we jump into the benefits, we’d also like to dispel any myths you may have read about lowering your gluten intake. Most people assume that a gluten-free diet is healthier or better for you. That’s not the case. This assumption is most likely influenced by associating foods like pastries, muffins, and cakes with gluten. Those kinds of foods tend to be very calorific or high in sugar, which isn’t very healthy. But, the gluten within them is totally fine. It’s only bad for you if your body doesn’t react well to it.
Another myth is that it’s a great diet for losing weight. Of course, if you cut out complex carbohydrates from your diet, you are likely to eat healthier and consume lower calories. If doing so isn’t combined with consistently eating balanced meals and instead with overindulging in gluten-free foods, you won’t necessarily lose weight.
So, without further ado, here’s how adopting elements of a gluten-free diet can benefit everyone.
Increased energy levels
If you suffer from fatigue, chronic or otherwise, this could be caused by gluten having a negative impact on your intestines. Which, in turn, impairs the absorption of important nutrients including iron. Lowering your gluten intake can restore nutrient absorption and increase your energy levels.
If you feel like what you’re eating might be affecting your energy levels, try keeping a diary of what you’ve been eating and how often you eat certain foods before you experience noticeable fatigue. That way, you’ll see whether there’s a correlation. If you regularly eat breakfast or lunch that includes complex carbs like bread, pastry, pasta etc, you could try swapping the pasta for rice or potatoes, the bread for gluten-free bread and the pastries for a fruit salad or a piece of fruit.
Great for digestion
Digestive issues can easily be avoided by lowering the amount of gluten in your diet, especially If you do suffer from coeliac disease. Have you noticed that you’re sometimes less regular when you have fried foods or lots of complex carbs? That’s a sign that you may want to switch out fried chips, for baked chips and candy (containing gluten) for dried fruit & nuts.
Healthier food choices
Are you partial to a pint of beer or cider, a few times a week? Can you sometimes be found enjoying a baked good or three? Well, some of that changes once you reduce your gluten consumption. And as luck would have it, most of your favourite foods that contain gluten will generally have healthier alternatives that don’t. You’ll also notice how often you’ll choose to enjoy foods that are higher in nutrition vs those that aren’t.
Lost of people experience bloating, some more than others. If you’re familiar with ways to treat bloating, eliminating diet choices that include too much sugar, carbs and not enough fibre is a tip that comes up often. If you try switching to a low-gluten diet, you’ll notice pretty quickly, that your stomach will start to appear visibly flatter after you eat.
For people those of you who haven’t been diagnosed with coeliac disease or gluten sensitivity, we highly recommend experimenting with gluten-free foods and exploring what works for you. At Love Yourself, we believe it’s important to look at making changes to your diet as an opportunity for improvement, rather than a chore or a fad. Don’t be afraid to try new things, and most importantly, take care of yourself.