A gluten-free diet proves beneficial to the people affected by certain medical problems such as gluten allergy, celiac disease, dermatitis herpetiformis, migraine, and autism. The following article provides some information about the benefits of this diet plan for people affected by these conditions.
Gluten is a natural protein that is present in cereal grains like wheat, barley, and rye. Apart from these food items, certain low proteinaceous food items are also supplemented with this protein. It is one of the primary sources of nutritional protein worldwide. However, people affected by certain medical conditions might experience gluten intolerance. For such people, following a gluten-free diet (a diet wherein foods containing this protein are not consumed) would benefit in reducing the symptoms to a great extent.
Foods that Can be Consumed
There are a variety of food options that can be included in this particular diet plan. However, certain processed foods are flavored and thickened with gluten. Hence, the most important part is to identify the foods that are safe to include in the diet plan. The food items that can be included in this diet are:
- Fruits: These include apples, acai berries, bananas, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, figs, grapes, guavas, lemons, mangoes, papayas, watermelons, avocados, and strawberries.
- Vegetables: These include green beans, broccoli, cabbage, cucumber, garlic, onions, peas, peppers, spinach, and turnips.
- Cereals and Flour: These include rice, corn, bean flour, corn flour, cornmeal, flaxseed, potato flour, tapioca flour, and soy flour.
- Dairy Products: Pure milk, butter, yogurt, sour cream, etc., don’t contain this protein, but processed dairy products like cheese may be flavored with it.
- Eggs and Poultry: Eggs and non-seasoned or non-flavored poultry are free of gluten content.
- Fish and Meat: Similar to poultry products, fresh, unseasoned meat of any type don’t contain this protein.
Therapeutically, this diet is prescribed for effective treatment of several medical conditions along with drug therapy. It has been observed that a majority of people follow this diet plan, exclusively for medical reasons. The following are some of the diseases that are known to be treated by the consumption of this diet.
Gluten Intolerance: A person affected by this condition, would not be able to tolerate the consumption of food items that contain this protein. Hence, this diet is necessary as a treatment step for the people affected by this allergy.
Celiac Disease: This is a hereditary, autoimmune disorder that results in injury to the lining of the small intestine after the consumption of gluten. Following this diet plan is of utmost importance for people affected by this condition, in order to promote healing of the lining of the small intestine.
Dermatitis Herpetiformis: This a chronic skin disorder that causes formation of fluid-filled blisters. Severe itching and burning sensation is experienced by the affected people on consuming food that is rich in gluten. Thus, the people affected by this condition should abstain from the consumption of foods containing this protein.
Migraine: Many people affected by this condition have reported pain with the consumption of gluten-rich foods. Also, it is found that the affected people are more likely to have celiac disease than the others. This diet plan would help them get relief from the pain.
Autism: Research studies conducted on the people affected by this condition, have shown that the risk factor of this severe disease is related to excess levels of gluten in the body. Hence, it can be concluded that children with autism disease should avoid the consumption of foods that contain this protein to reduce the complications.
Weight Loss: Previously, gluten-free weight loss diet was recommended for the people affected by the celiac disease. It has been observed that in recent times, this diet is the latest craze among those determined to lose weight. However, there is no clinical data that supports the effectiveness of this diet for weight loss. In fact, restricting to this diet plan, would in turn lead to weight gain.
Even though there are many benefits, it may be quite difficult to restrict to this diet plan. This is because cereals and grains are the base for many filling food products. The best way would be to examine the labels of processed foods, flours, and package foods for gluten content, prior to including them in the diet plan.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and does not in any way attempt to replace the advice offered by an expert on the subject.