Recent statistics indicate that gluten free diets are becoming increasingly popular throughout the United States. In fact, it’s been estimated that one in five Americans make a conscious effort to include some gluten-free foods in their food choices. Approximately one-third of all adults in the US are actively attempting to adopt a way of eating that is entirely free of gluten. Why are so many people choosing to adopt a manner of eating free of gluten-containing foods? What are the benefits that can be achieved by going gluten-free? We will address some of these common questions in more detail below.
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a word that evokes many emotions in some people, but not everyone fully understands what the substance is. Simply put, gluten is a protein that is present in some whole-grains and products made from these grains. Gluten is what makes these foods chewy, so it is almost always found in bread and other baked goods. The problem is that this protein is not entirely digestible by the majority of people, making it possible for the substance to increase the risk of inflammation in the body. We will look more closely at the benefits of a gluten-free way of eating below.
Health Benefits of a Gluten-Free Diet
There have been many reported benefits associated with reducing or eliminating gluten. It turns out that an intolerance to gluten is a spectrum and individuals can experience varying degrees of sensitivity to this substance. In other words, an individual doesn’t need to have a serious allergy to gluten in order to experience benefits from reducing or eliminating it. Some of the most commonly reported health benefits are described briefly below.
Improvement in IBS Symptoms
Those who have various forms of irritable bowel disease generally experience a reduction in troublesome symptoms when they switch to a gluten-free way of eating. This can include better digestion, less bloating, and improved bowel habits that lead to a greater state of overall health.
Eliminates Unhealthy Food By-Products
A gluten-free way of eating will naturally eliminate many junk foods. This is due to the fact that so many of these packaged food items naturally contain gluten, making them off-limits. More of a conscious focus is then placed on the consumption of healthy fruits and vegetables.
Can Potentially Reduce Negatives Effects of Autism
The connection between Autism and the condition of the gut is still being studied heavily. However, preliminary studies indicate that autistic individuals may have limited gut functioning that makes breaking down specific proteins even harder than it is for others. While the evidence is not conclusive at this point, some people report improvements from adopting a gluten free way of eating.
Can Boost Immunity
Since eliminating gluten will drastically cut down on the amount of packaged foods that are consumed, many unhealthy additives are cut from the diet. These can include trans fats, add oils, and various chemicals that often find their way into packaged foods. Eliminating these items in favor of fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean protein-based foods can have a positive effect on the immune system.
Be Cautious of Gluten-Free Food Replacements
If you are one of many Americans that are looking to reduce or eliminate gluten from your routine, take heart that this can be done safely and successfully. However, be sure to follow a few basic words of wisdom. For starters, focus heavily on a diet full of nutrient-rich fresh fruits and vegetables for improved wellness. Don’t fall into the trap of replacing junk foods with their equally nutrient-void gluten-free counterparts. Rather make a conscious effort to keep these packaged junk foods to a bare minimum overall. Combined with moderate exercise and healthy lifestyle choices, you can experience an improved state of wellness and vitality.