‘Gluten-Free for Better Health’

There are a number of good reasons you might want to go gluten-free, especially if you have coeliac disease or are gluten intolerant. However, the prospect of a strict gluten-free diet may seem intimidating initially; but equipped with the right knowledge, the gluten-free diet can be fairly easy to adapt to.

More than 50 diseases have been linked to gluten, the protein found in wheat, rye, and barley, and it is estimated that 99% of the people who have either gluten intolerance or coeliac disease are never diagnosed. Nevertheless, the symptoms can be unpleasant and extremely varied, which is why many people never actually find out they have an intolerance. These take in everything from digestive issues and fatigue through to migraines, inflammation of the joints, anxiety and depression.

The best way to determine if you have gluten intolerance is to eliminate all foods with gluten from your diet for a month and then reintroduce them. If you feel significantly better off without the gluten, then the diagnosis is self-explanatory. But it is vital to understand that in order to get accurate results from this testing method you must remove 100% of the gluten from your diet. Everyday foods that contain gluten include breads, pastas, wheat-based biscuits like crackers, and a number of seasonings and spices. But check the labels of everything!

The gluten-free diet doesn’t mean that all grains and cereals are off the menu though. Quinoa, amaranth, polenta, buckwheat, corn, millet and tapioca are just several of the genuinely gluten-free grains that can be included in your diet. Simply read the labels to make certain you are using uncontaminated versions.

Take a crack at swapping traditional breadcrumbs for polenta crumbs, plump for gluten-free buckwheat, rice noodles and pasta, and have a go at baking with quinoa for gluten-free alternatives. And remember that lots of foods are naturally gluten-free, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, poultry, fish, cheese and eggs.

Today, food products in grocery stores are clearly labelled for gluten content, which makes avoiding it far easier than it was just a few years ago. Nutritionists and dieticians can also help plan diets. It may also help you to manage the condition by keeping a diary that lists foods eaten and any symptoms that occur. The positive changes in your health will be well worth the effort!

  • By Bilal Al Halabi, Al Halabi Ref. & Kitchen Equipment www.al-halabi.com


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