Table of Contents
Hidden Benefits of Gluten Free Diets
If you have paid attention to the health industry lately, the popularity of gluten-free diets and products are on the rise. Quite honestly, it’s more than just a popularity contest, they are also some amazing hidden benefits of gluten free diets. Gluten free products have always been around and have mostly been tailored for individuals who have issues with eating gluten, but the industry has rapidly expanded to cater to a larger portion of the population.
There are benefits of gluten free diets for just about everyone, not just people with a gluten intolerance. Cutting down on gluten can have some profound effects on your health. There are many hidden benefits of gluten free diets that are not often advertised and that you may not be aware of.
Here are just few of the reasons to consider a gluten free diet over some other available options.
Why Gluten-Free Has Become So Popular
There has been a huge growth in the number of people that have been diagnosed with Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. In fact, The University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research has stated that more than 18 million people (currently around 6 percent of the population of the United States) has some sort of sensitivity to gluten.
For these people, eating gluten can have some negative health effects that could hinder their enjoyment of life in a variety of ways. For these individuals, making the move to a gluten-free diet is an absolute must. This is a part of the reason why it has grown so rapidly in popularity. The diet has also been studied and researched by a number of physicians from multiple different disciplines.
There are a variety of health benefits that people can enjoy from a gluten-free diet. Many people notice improved cholesterol levels, better digestion and increased energy levels. There are a variety of foods removed from the diet on a gluten-free diet that can potentially eliminate negative health effects, both in the short term and long term.
Improvement of Digestion Issues
Did you know that a gluten-free diet can greatly help you with digestion issues? Individuals who suffer with ongoing digestion issues often find that removing or lowering their gluten intake allows these issues to resolve themselves.
Individuals who have Celiac disease suffer from inflammation of the small intestine when gluten is eaten. This greatly reduces the number of nutrients that are absorbed and can lead to malnutrition in the individual.
When you eliminate gluten from your diet, often you reduce a number of intestinal problems including gas, upset stomach, diarrhea, cramps and constipation. There is also some evidence that individuals who have been diagnosed with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) may actually suffer from gluten sensitivity.
One benefit of gluten free diets often overlooked is improved mood and overall neurological health. Many individuals on a gluten-free diet report that they are much more aware of their surroundings, able to focus better and think more clearly.
Individuals who are sensitive to gluten usually find eating gluten causes a number of adverse side effects such as a cloudy mind, attention issues, frequent headaches, and in some cases even severe depression. It is suggested that these issues are due to a molecule used during intestinal inflammation called Cytokines. This is released when an individual with Celiac disease or basic gluten sensitivity ingests gluten. This can really be detrimental tothe overall mood of an individual, and can lead to a wealth of other issues as well.
Fewer Inflammation Issues
Individuals who suffer from gluten sensitivity may also suffer from a variety of inflammation issues outside of the intestinal tract. These issues can also be caused by Cytokines.
They may also find their joints become sore more easily and their muscles cramp as a result. Chronic inflammation can cause other issues down the road as well. If you experience this, you want to make sure the issue is taken care of as quickly as possible.
Inflammation issues outside of the intestinal tract are usually limited to individuals who are extremely sensitive to gluten.
Do you ever feel sluggish throughout the day? If you feel like you need a mid-afternoon nap every day, then you need to consider the fact that gluten sensitivity could be the cause. Individuals who have gluten sensitivity do not absorb vitamins and minerals in the same way that an average person does. This, combined with the cognitive effects that gluten sensitivity can produce, often leads to individuals being unmotivated, on edge, tired, or depressed.
Depression in and of itself can lead to a decrease in energy which, combined with the other symptoms of gluten sensitivity, can have a profound effect on your life. You may also feel an overall weakness throughout your body, and a tiredness of the muscles and joints.
Some have linked anemia to gluten sensitivity as well. Anemia is caused when the body does not absorb enough iron due to inflammation in the intestines. This is often a byproduct of malnutrition from gluten sensitivity.
Cholesterol Improvement and Changes
Because gluten-free diets eliminate a large number of unhealthy foods, many of the individuals who make the switch report lowered cholesterol levels. The reduction of cholesterol eliminates the need to use common cholesterol medications like Zocor or Lipitor.
The real danger with gluten is that one symptom or condition can lead to another. For instance, gluten sensitivity could lead to both anemia and depression. Many of these conditions have similar characteristics, which then makes them harder to diagnose and tell apart.
If you believe that you are suffering from these conditions or if any of these symptoms are present in your day-to-day life, you may want to consult your physician. Your doctor can test to see whether or not you have a gluten sensitivity.
Gluten-free diets have become exceptionally popular in a very short time span and there is good reason for this. Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity can have an unseen but profound effect on your life. Living with these conditions can be difficult and, in some cases, even life threatening. The paleo diet (which is gluten-free) is an excellent choice for individuals looking to capitalize on the benefits of gluten free and improve their day-to-day life.
- What Are The Benefits of Eating Gluten-Free?
- The Health Benefits Of A Gluten-Free Diet
- The Hidden Risks of Going Gluten-Free
Photo credit: Lucy Fisher and Thomas Galvez
Download Your FREE Paleo Starter Kit Today!
- 3-Day Paleo Diet Meal Plan
- Comprehensive Paleo Diet Shopping List
- 5 of Our Favorite Paleo Diet Recipes