As most people are probably aware, eating food is vital for the health of your body. The food we eat contains nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that keep us active and focused throughout the day. In fact, our diets are often directly responsible for how we feel on any given day. No one knows this better than those with gluten intolerance or coeliac disease. Their gluten-free diet is vital to keeping them from abdominal distress and pain.
Even so, switching to a gluten-free diet brings up other nutrient issues. It’s a common misconception that gluten is universally bad. In fact, many glutinous foods contain valuable nutrients that assist in other bodily processes. So, cutting out gluten might work wonders for your coeliac disease, but it could cause a nutrient deficiency if you don’t replace those glutinous foods with something else.
What’s Good about Gluten?
Gluten itself is a protein that doesn’t really offer any special nutritional advantages. That is to say, people wouldn’t go out of their just to eat gluten. But, the foods that contain gluten are filled with other nutritional benefits. Wheat flour is often enriched with B vitamins and iron, meaning that traditional breads, cereals, and pastas pack a nutritious punch. Fibre, folic acid, and other nutrients can be found in abundance in glutinous wheat products as well.
By contrast, gluten-free flours and starchy foods tend to have fewer nutrients in them. So, while your gluten-free tapioca flour bread rolls might be delicious, they won’t have the same nutritional content that you’ll find in standard bread rolls.
How to Get Vital Nutrients
For those with coeliac disease or gluten sensitivity, there’s really no nutritional benefit to the continued consumption of gluten. But, you’ll still want to make sure that you get the requisite amount of nutrients after cutting gluten out of your diet. If your diet was filled with breads and pastas prior to your diagnosis, then you’ll probably want to mix in a more diverse range of foods alongside your gluten-free breads and pastas.
Many people get their daily fibre from wheat-based breads and there generally aren’t many gluten-free types of bread that have the same amount of fibre. To supplement your fibre intake, add naturally gluten-free and high-fibre foods like beans, nuts, fruits, and vegetables to your diet. Folic acid can also be found in glutinous foods and is important in the production of new cells and helping to prevent birth defects for babies in the womb.
On a gluten-free diet, you can get more folic acid from vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, and other leafy greens. To get more iron, add more fresh fish, shellfish, and leafy green vegetables, as well.
Clearly, gluten-filled foods are not going to be beneficial for anyone with coeliac disease or gluten sensitivity. But it’s still important to consume a wide range of nutritional foods. With the right balance of meals and healthy snacks, you can continue getting your daily allotment of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients with relative ease.
By Harry Price
Harry Price is a Writer and landsacpe artist, living in a small fishing village on the south coast. He loves training and running for marathons – his 3 dogs make the best running buddies.