Gluten intolerance or Gluten Enteropathy is a commonly found problem. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and semolina.
If a person is intolerant to gluten then this protein can cause some digestive issues such as constipation, diarrhea, bloating, abdominal pain and so on.
There are other symptoms also such as:
- Headache- Experiencing headaches on a regular basis is another symptom that can occur in people with gluten intolerance.
- Sudden weight loss- Gluten intolerance prevents the absorption of nutrients that result in weight loss.
- Anemia- In gluten intolerance, nutrients absorption in the small intestine is damaged which results in the reduction of iron absorption from the food.
- Fatigue- As mentioned in the above point, gluten intolerance can lead to iron deficiency Anemia which ultimately causes more fatigue and lack of energy.
- Skin Allergy- Several skin problems like psoriasis, urticarial have shown improvement with a gluten-free diet.
- Joint & Muscle pain- When a gluten intolerant person is exposed to gluten it may cause inflammation. This inflammation can lead to widespread pain that includes joint and muscle pain.
For gluten intolerant people, following a gluten-free diet can be beneficial in terms of improvement in symptoms and digestion. But people who are on a gluten-free diet tend to be deficient in a few vitamins and minerals. For example, whole-grain bread and other products are natural or enriched sources of the following:
- Iron: It treats Anemia, boosts hemoglobin, improves muscle strength and reduces fatigue.
- Calcium: The body needs calcium to construct and maintain strong bones. Your heart, muscles and nerves also require calcium to function properly.
- Fiber: Normalizes bowel movements. It helps maintain bowel health.
- Thiamine:It helps prevent complications in the nervous system, brain, muscles, heart, stomach, and intestines. It is also involved in the flow of electrolytes into and out of muscle and nerve cells.
- Riboflavin: A vitamin that is needed for growth and overall good health. It assists the body break down carbohydrates, proteins and fats to make energy, and it allows oxygen to be used by the body.
- Niacin: Niacin is a vitamin that acts as an antioxidant and plays a role in cell signaling and DNA repair. Deficiency is characterized by skin problems, dementia and diarrhea.
- Folate:is one of the B-vitamins and is needed to build red and white blood cells in the bone marrow, change carbohydrates into energy, and produce DNA and RNA.
Tips to meet the missing nutrients in a gluten-free diet:
1) There are various naturally gluten-free high-fiber foods besides grain/gluten-based products such as Beans, fruit, vegetables, and nuts are also excellent sources of fiber, so try to increase the intake of these foods if you are going gluten-free.
2) In gluten-free products, vitamin-like folic acid is not added by the manufacturer which is normally there in gluten-based products like wheat, wheat-based bread, pasta. So it is important for a person who is on a gluten-free diet to include Green leafy vegetables (spinach, romaine lettuce, turnip greens), asparagus, lentils, beets, broccoli get adequate folic acid. Similarly, Include the following foods for specific nutrients.
Calcium: Green leafy vegetables (spinach, turnip greens, collard greens), sardines, almonds, sesame seeds, seaweed (nori, kelp).
Thiamine: sunflower seeds, black beans, tuna, green peas, lentils.
Iron: all types of meat, lentils, soybeans, tofu, prunes, and pumpkin seeds.
Niacin: fish, chicken, potato, Tuna, mushrooms, brown rice, peanuts, green peas, and avocados
Riboflavin: Meat, nuts, green leafy vegetables, milk, cheese, mushroom, egg, fish, broccoli, soybean.
Folate: Legumes, asparagus, eggs, leafy greens, beets, citrus fruits, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, papaya, banana.
3) Include unprocessed food as they are loaded with nutrients that are not available in processed food. They are rich in fiber, help in blood sugar level, and good for the skin.
4) Cook the vegetables lightly as nutrients are destroyed when the food is fried in oil or boiled in water for a longer time. Cooking techniques like baking, sautéing, and steaming are better.
5) Choose colorful fruits and vegetables as they contain many of the vitamins and antioxidants we need with minimum calories. For example all the green fruits and vegetables like broccoli, spinach, cabbage, lettuce, cucumbers, zucchini, green apples, kiwi, green grapes, lime, and avocado protect your eye health, lowering the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration.