The gluten free diet is gaining in popularity, and some people are required to eat a gluten free diet due to gluten sensitivity or Celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks and damages the intestines whenever gluten is eaten. However, many non-celiacs and gluten tolerant individuals are switching to a gluten free diet on the ground that they believe in its health benefits. Here are some of the health benefits of a gluten free diet:
1. Gluten Free Diets Relieve the Symptoms of Celiac Disease
For those suffering from Celiac disease, a gluten free diet is the only treatment option. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder in which your body’s own immune system attacks your intestines when you eat gluten, the plant protein found in wheat and wheat and wheat products.
Celiac disease damages the small intestine, making it harder for your body to absorb food. This means that, with time, Celiac patients can suffer from nutritional deficiencies as their bodies lose the ability to absorb nutrients from food. Celiac disease is genetic, and can run in families. Surgery, pregnancy, emotional distress, viral infection and childbirth can trigger this disease.
Symptoms of celiac disease include:
- Chronic diarrhea
- Abdominal cramps and bloating
- Pale stool
- Foul smelling stool
- Weight loss
- Iron deficiency anemia occuring without apparent cause
- Pain in bones or joints
- Depression or anxiety
- Recurrent miscarriage
- Missed menstrual periods
- Tingling or numbness in the feet and hands
- Sores inside the mouth
2. Gluten Free Diets Relieve the Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance
Many people don’t suffer from Celiac disease, but they may nevertheless be intolerant to gluten. This condition is known as Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity. Symptoms are similar to those of Celiac disease, including poor immunity, ulcers or sores in the mouth, dermatitis and eczema. However, those with Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity don’t experience the malabsorptive problems associated with Celiac disease.
Some doctors believe that as many as one in seven people suffer from gluten sensitivity to some extent, and that a number of common ailments, like seasonal allergies, may be in some way linked to gluten intolerance.
3. A Gluten Free Diet May Help Relieve the Symptoms of Autism
Recent research suggests that a gluten free diet may help relieve the symptoms of autism. Researchers believe that children with autism have difficulty digesting gluten, such that eating gluten causes these children to have abnormally high levels of gluteomorphines, a protein by product, in their blood. These protein by products affect the children in much the same way a drug would, causing the symptoms associated with autism, researchers now believe.
Though nothing has been proven, preliminary studies would suggest that gluten free diets should be an integral part of treating children with autism.
4. A Gluten Free Diet May Relieve the Symptoms of a Range of Other Medical Conditions
Doctors believe that gluten may play some role in many medical conditions, and some doctors recommend a gluten free diet for patients suffering from any of the following:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes
- Down’s Syndrome