Gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and related grains, has become a problem for the digestive system of many people. In the United States alone, an estimated 2 million people—about one out of every 141 people—have celiac disease. With this disorder, eating gluten can cause various health problems, from indigestion and bloating to fatigue and depression. Unfortunately, the only known treatment of celiac disease is consuming a gluten-free diet.
What can you eat on a gluten-free diet?
Avoiding gluten definitely requires some time for careful grocery shopping. You have to be sure to start reading labels and planning meals. But because of its recent notoriety, nutritional labels now read “gluten-free” or “contains gluten.”
If you find yourself suffering from celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, don’t fret; there are still plenty of delicious, healthy options out there for you to consume! Not only are fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, dairy products, meats, poultry, and fish all naturally gluten-free, but there are some naturally gluten-free whole grains as well. One example is quinoa, a fluffy grain with a nutty flavor that’s packed with protein. Keep in mind that products labeled gluten-free may not necessarily be healthy options. A cookie is still a cookie regardless of whether or not it is gluten-free.
The next time you’re in the grocery store, be sure to take a gander in the ever-expanding gluten-free section. You will find just about everything you need on your list here. No matter if you must go gluten-free or not, the goal is to try and consume the majority of carbohydrates from unrefined whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables. The less processed the foods you consume are, the healthier they are for you.
Visit celiac.nih.gov to learn more about the Celiac Disease Awareness Campaign.
Do you have any suggestions or recipes for gluten-free alternatives? Share them in our comments section.
Source: Rubio-Tapia A, Ludvigsson JF, Brantner TL, Murray JA, Everhart JE. The prevalence of celiac disease in the United States. American Journal of Gastroenterology. 2012;107:1538–1544.