How to Stay Nourished on a Gluten-Free Diet - dummies

How to Stay Nourished on a Gluten-Free Diet

By Nancy McEachern

The gluten-free diet isn’t so much a diet as it is a lifestyle. If you have celiac disease, then permanently and exclusively eating gluten-free foods is the only treatment. Staying gluten-free is also important if you’re treating other medical conditions, such as a gluten sensitivity or wheat allergy, autoimmune disorders, and more.

Cutting out nearly an entire food group means you need to be careful that you get enough of the nutrients your body requires for optimal operation from other foods. After all, a food labeled “gluten-free” isn’t necessarily good for you — it just doesn’t contain gluten.

When cutting gluten from your diet, you may inadvertently cut something else: fiber. Fiber improves digestive function, lowers blood cholesterol, helps control diabetes and weight, plays a role in the prevention of colon cancer, and supports friendly gut bacteria.

People are often told that whole-wheat bread is the best way to get fiber in their diets. Wrong! There are plenty of healthy, gluten-free ways to make sure you add this important element to your diet.

Steer clear of low-fiber processed foods and eat plenty of these high-fiber, naturally gluten-free foods:

  • Gluten-free whole grains

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables

  • Nuts and seeds

  • Beans

  • Almond flour

  • Popcorn

  • Gluten-free oatmeal

If you’re worried you may be lacking key vitamins and minerals when you go gluten-free, consult a dietitian or nutritionist during a visit home or on campus.