With obesity levels spiraling out of control and billions being spent on weight-related healthcare each and every single year, it was only a matter of time before health officials stepped in and attempted to do something.
Today we’re looking at the benefits of gluten-free diet plans, but what is it about gluten that has people’s health suffering and their weight ballooning?
Well, that’s what we’re going to try to find out today.
You see, contrary to popular belief, you don’t actually need to suffer from gluten intolerance, or celiac disease, in order for you to reap the benefits.
Over the last several years, more and more people have started to follow gluten-free diets, even those that could quite happily consume gluten without any adverse side effects at all.
Everywhere you turn, more and more grocery stores and eateries are offering gluten-free ingredients and food options, but why?
Well, because going gluten-free is actually very beneficial and good for you.
Here are 15 essential health benefits.
15 Health Benefits of Gluten-Free Diet
1. Better Digestion
Whether or not you suffer from a gluten allergy or intolerance, you can still benefit from going gluten-free.
This is particularly true as far as your digestion is concerned.
Gluten can seriously affect the digestive system of people with gluten allergies and intolerances.
However, it can also negatively impact a healthy person’s digestive system as well.
You see, gluten can harm the small intestine.
The small intestine is a very important component of any digestive system, as it is here where we absorb the majority of the nutrients from the foods and drinks we consume.
It does this with the help of microscopic villi, which line the walls of the small intestine.
Gluten can damage villi within the small intestine, which can affect nutrient absorption rates and can lead to digestive distress.
Cutting out gluten means that you absorb more nutrients and digest your food and drink more efficiently.
2. Healthier Foods
Gluten is a protein found in wheat.
Many foods containing gluten are heavily processed and are often made from refined carbohydrates which offer very little in the way of nutrients.
White bread, pasta, cereals, and baked goods are often enriched with gluten, and as you probably know, they don’t offer many health benefits.
The foods you consume on a gluten-free diet however, are not processed, are natural, and are generally considered to be far healthier.
On a gluten-free diet, you will consume foods such as meat, fish, eggs, dairy, fresh fruits, and fresh vegetables.
These are generally not processed, are all-natural, and are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, healthy fats, proteins, amino acids, and other nutrients that promote optimal health and well-being.
3. More Energy
People that suffer from gluten allergies and intolerances often experience fatigue and lethargy as a result of the gluten they have consumed.
Another of the many health benefits is the fact that you will almost certainly have more energy if you cut out gluten.
Even if you can quite happily eat gluten with no real negative side effects, you’ll probably have noticed how tired and fatigued you feel after you’ve eaten the gluten-rich food.
Cutting out gluten will help boost your metabolism and give your body and mind the energy it needs to function to the best of its abilities.
4. Weight Loss
Whilst the gluten-free diet isn’t designed to serve as a weight loss diet, one of the main benefits is the fact that weight loss nearly always occurs fairly rapidly after you initially cut out the gluten.
As mentioned, many gluten-rich foods are also high in calories and unhealthy fats, as well as sugars that can all promote weight gain.
Most gluten-free foods that you eat on this diet are natural, healthy, wholesome, and great for weight loss.
Providing that you’re sensible and that you don’t go overboard with your calories, a very welcome benefit of following a gluten-free diet will almost certainly be weight loss.
5. May Help With Treating Autism
Autism is a cognitive disorder that can affect an individual’s cognitive development.
It is particularly prevalent in young children in this day and age, and there is no obvious reason for this.
Many experts speculate that the prevalence of autism in young children over the last few years could be diet and lifestyle-related.
Autism often also results in other issues such as ADHD.
Though there is no solid proof as yet, early studies do seem to indicate that gluten-free diets can potentially help to treat autism and other similar behavioral conditions.
Some experts believe that, as gluten causes inflammation, a gluten-free diet may help to reduce inflammatory markers located within the brain that could negatively impact an individual’s behavior and cognition.
Gluten-free diets are therefore very popular in households where autism is an issue.
6. Stronger Immune System
The human immune system is the body’s first and last line of defense against illness and disease.
The immune system helps to protect our bodies from germs, bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens that could potentially attack us from within and leave us unwell.
The stronger the immune system, the healthier the individual in question.
The weaker the immune system, the more at risk the individual will be.
A strong immune system can promote longevity and stave off an entire cacophony of other health issues, including life-threatening diseases such as cancer.
The immune system thrives on vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other important nutrients.
Gluten-free diets are very beneficial for boosting the immune system as they help to improve nutrient absorption rates within the small intestine.
The more nutrients we absorb, the stronger our immune systems will become as a result.
7. Reduced Risk Of Cancer
Cancer is one of the most devastating diseases in the world.
Whilst there is, as yet, no cure for cancer, the good news is that we are making great progress in the search for a cure. Even so, it is a disease that nobody ever wants to contract.
Another of the key benefits is the fact that they can potentially help reduce your risk of cancer.
To begin with, gluten-free diets improve nutrient absorption rates which help to strengthen the immune system.
As well as that, gluten-free diets also help to reduce inflammation in the body, which can be a precursor for certain strains of cancer.
Inflammation causes oxidative stress and damage to the cells, which can cause them to mutate and turn cancerous.
Less inflammation in the body means a reduced risk of cancer.
8. Improves Healthy Cholesterol Levels
In the body, we have two forms of cholesterol.
We have LDL cholesterol, and we have HDL cholesterol. HDL cholesterol is very healthy and beneficial, and we need plenty of that.
LDL cholesterol, however, is extremely dangerous.
LDL cholesterol is responsible for causing fatty build-ups and deposits within the blood vessels and arteries.
The foods consumed on gluten-free diets have been found to reduce LDL cholesterol and boost healthy HDL cholesterol, making the diet extremely beneficial and potentially lifesaving.
9. Feel Better
Even if you can technically consume gluten with no adverse side effects, you’ve probably noticed how certain processed wheat foods can leave you feeling bloated, sluggish, lethargic, and generally uncomfortable.
Even people that don’t suffer from celiac disease or a gluten allergy or intolerance have probably noticed how gluten causes them to bloat and feel gassy and cramped.
People that cut gluten out of their diets report feeling energized, being able to think clearer, having better mental health, and no longer feeling gassy, bloated, or uncomfortable after eating a meal.
10. Better Hair
Yes, this is, in fact, a true benefit of going gluten-free.
Gluten is a protein that can hinder nutrient absorption rates.
We’ve established that already.
What we haven’t yet established, is that gluten-free diets can give you healthier hair.
Nutrient deficiencies can leave the hair looking pale and dull, and feeling dry and brittle.
What’s more, nutrient deficiencies can stop the hair from growing, or cause it to fall out in clumps in extreme cases.
Cutting gluten out of your diet means that you absorb more nutrients, so your hair looks and feels healthier.
Who knew that going gluten-free would result in you growing a set of soft luscious locks?
11. Better Skin
Not only do nutrient deficiencies affect the hair, but they can also affect the skin.
There’s a reason why people that don’t get enough vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants suffer from dry, pale, spotty, blemished, wrinkled, loose, and unhealthy skin, just like there’s a reason why people that enjoy healthy diets rich in vitamins and minerals have glowing skin that looks healthy and youthful.
Cutting out gluten means that you can absorb more nutrients, so your skin will look, feel, and become healthier as a result.
12. Better Mental Health
Inflammation brought on by gluten can potentially impact the brain.
Experts believe that gluten can potentially be a factor when it comes to stress, anxiety, and even depression.
Mental health is a topic that needs to be taken much more seriously than it has been, and thankfully, we are now making that a reality.
Some health experts have found evidence that points to the fact that gluten-free diets can lead to reductions in stress, anxiety, and depression and can instead improve mental health.
As far as the health benefits of gluten-free diet plans go, this one is a biggie.
13. Pain Relief
We’re going back to inflammation again, but for a very good reason.
You see, in the body inflammation not only leads to physiological issues, but it can also cause pain and discomfort.
Inflammation can cause headaches, it can cause muscular pain, it can lead to joint pain, arthritis, and much more besides.
Gluten proteins have been found to trigger inflammation, so cutting gluten out of your diet is a great way of easing inflammation.
This, in turn, means that going gluten-free is a great way of easing pain and discomfort or preventing it completely.
14. Fewer Allergies
It isn’t just your insides that suffer if you have an adverse reaction to gluten.
It turns out that gluten can also trigger adverse reactions on the outside of your body.
Gluten can cause painful and itchy rashes and skin disorders which must then be treated with topical creams and ointments.
Prevention, as they say, is far better than cure and so to prevent these rashes from occurring, something as simple as cutting gluten out of your diet may be all that is needed.
15. Plenty Of Dietary Options
A couple of decades ago, if you decided to follow a gluten-free diet and wanted to eat out, you’d be lucky to find a salad that didn’t contain gluten, let alone any other delicious meal options.
Nowadays, however, because the gluten-free movement is growing and is so popular, there are more dietary options than ever before.
You can now purchase gluten-free bread, gluten-free pasta, gluten-free desserts, gluten-free flours, heck, there are even gluten-free beers and gluten-free wines to choose from.
Now, you can reap the benefits, whilst still enjoying delicious foods.
So, as you can see, there are many, many health benefits associated with gluten-free diets, with very few drawbacks.
If you suffer from gluten intolerance, or if you simply want to enjoy some of the health benefits of gluten-free diet foods like the ones we’ve listed above, why not go a week or two with no gluten and see how you get on?