The number one recommendation for people who are sensitive to gluten or have celiac disease is eliminating grains. Bread and other gluten-rich foods were once thought of as a healthy staple and edible by nearly anyone, but this mysteriously began to change a few decades ago.
What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in grains, such as barley, rye and wheat. Gluten is the ingredient that gives bread the pleasantly chewy and elastic qualities that appetites love. It is the only protein you can find in foods that happens to be completely indigestible. These molecules that don’t see safe passage through the digestive system sometimes slip through the intestinal lining, causing inflammation for those who are intolerant.
The small intestine is lined with projections called villi that aid the body in the duty of absorbing nutrients. In those with celiac disease, gluten attacks the lining of the small intestine and also triggers the immune system to aggressively attack the villi. Over time, the villi will suffer longstanding, sometimes irreversible, damage.
Once the villi are damaged, the entire body can no longer absorb the appropriate amount of nutrients. They simply pass through the digestive tract, causing multiple symptoms and correlated health issues. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services claims that one in 141 people in the United States suffers from celiac disease.
Longstanding Benefits of the Gluten-Free Diet
The benefits of a gluten-free diet can be realized by many who suffer from digestive disorders. Gluten intolerance levels range from lower levels of gluten sensitivity all the way to full-blown celiac disease. However, it’s important to note that jumping on the gluten-free bandwagon isn’t necessarily the healthiest choice for some individuals without gluten sensitivity, as it may cut out some key nutrients.
Nixing gluten can also help those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The starches and sugars commonly found in many foods on the “no” list for a gluten-free diet are easily fermented by intestinal bacteria—further aggravating the digestive tract of those with IBS.
All of this can cause bloating, cramping and other discomforts. For any kind of gluten intolerance or celiac disease, the only treatment is committing to a gluten-free diet.
The All-Important Energy Level
Chronic fatigue can be one of the early warning signs of those with gluten sensitivity. Consuming gluten-containing products damages the intestines of those with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity and prevents nutrients like iron from properly distributing throughout the body. This iron deficiency can result in extreme fatigue. After adopting a gluten-free diet, the intestines undergo a healing period that restores the ability to properly absorb nutrients.
There are not many ailments that dole out the constant discomfort and annoying pain of a headache. Scientists have discovered that the gut and brain have a close link, which is more important than they first thought. Studies show that those who have gluten intolerance and celiac disease are much more likely to suffer from migraines. Switching to a gluten-free diet can reduce nagging or debilitating headaches.
The Reduction of Hair Loss
When our hair suffers from a lack of nutrients, there is a direct link to what we all fear the most: hair loss. Gluten intolerance and celiac disease are directly linked to these deficiencies. Completely cutting out the food sources that have gluten is the only solution. When you embark on this task, keep in mind that the amount of gluten found in just one small crouton could be enough to have negative effects.
The Reoccurring Risk of Thyroid Problems
Eating gluten has been shown to negatively impact the thyroid. But research shows that taking part in a gluten-free diet reduces the antibodies commonly associated with thyroid disease. When the immune system makes an error and attacks the thyroid gland, it can result in symptoms such as irritability, nervousness, shaking, restlessness, fever, weakness in the muscles and weight loss.
The Autism Spectrum
Some children and adults with autism have seen improvement by switching to a gluten-free and casein-free diet. However, this is observational and not clinically conclusive. Since some autistic subjects are nonverbal, it can be difficult to know exactly how effective gluten-free diets are in improving autism.
Healthy YOU Vending Offers Healthy, Gluten-Free Choices
One important thing to take note of in regard to gluten is the amount of processing it goes through before its inclusion in food. However, many goods, like pretzels, crackers, pizza dough and pancakes, can now be replaced with new gluten-free options. Thankfully, there is an abundance of brands on the market that are creating fantastic alternatives that still tempt your taste buds while keeping you healthy!
Healthy YOU Vending has been the trendsetter in the healthy vending industry for more than 20 years. We help offer wholesome snacks, drinks and entrées to busy on-the-goers in offices, gyms, hotels and many other locations throughout the country. Our independent operators provide a wide selection of gluten-free products sure to meet the diet requirements of those with celiac disease and other gluten sensitivities. If you’re interested in getting a healthy vending machine at your place of work, or where you go to burn some calories, click here.