Thus, going gluten-free diet is simple and accessible. Based on the feedback from people going gluten-free, the conclusion can be made that the diet may improve the human`s health, benefit from non-specific gastrointestinal issues, reduce the symptoms of mental disorders, and even refine the skin. These products can also be effective for losing weight. Numerous studies confirm the negative impact of gluten on a human body. Therefore, going the gluten-free diet is a healthy and optimal lifestyle choice.
Keywords: gluten-free diet, protein, celiac disease, digestion, intestines, health, body.
A gluten-free diet is based on the exclusion of gluten-containing products from the nutrition. It is a vegetable protein found in wheat, rye, oats, barley, as well as the products made from them. Gluten acts as the glue since it holds together the dough molecules, making the bakery lush. Its content in food also helps to store them longer. Due to its ability to glue and thicken, it is available in the prepared food, yogurt, ice cream, chocolate, mayonnaise, sauces, and ketchup. In addition, this protein is found in sausages and even in beverages such as beer and whiskey. Gluten has a feature to be accumulated in the body. The inner walls of intestines are covered with fibers that help digest food and absorb vitamins, minerals, and microelements. While reacting to gluten, fibers become smooth. The food with useful elements is not digested (Sabatino & Corazza, 2009). Thus, a gluten-free diet is a healthy and optimal choice assisting in solving many health problems. Following a gluten-free diet would have a positive impact on individuals ’lifestyles.
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Gluten and difficulties with digestion
The gluten-free diet has been specifically developed for people with intolerance to gluten and allergies. It is also successfully applied for weight loss. The core nutrition principle of this diet implies the rejection of gluten products from the consumption. Since gluten provokes a slowing down of metabolic processes in the body, the benefits of a gluten-free diet are associated with cleansing the body and easier digestion of food (Fast, 2011). Gluten proteins have an unusual structure that is poorly digested by a human. This protein, even being in a healthy body, has an aggressive impact on the intestines` fibers often resulting in digestibility of food. According to Fasano (2013), the end products of gluten digestion enter the intestines and provoke immune reactions similar to the effects of cytotoxic microorganisms. Therefore, many individuals observe serious side effects after eating gluten-containing products. Symptoms of the negative effects of gluten on the gastrointestinal tract include severe abdominal distension, diarrhea and constipation. If a person is sensitive to gluten, the mucous of his stomach cannot absorb the required vitamins and nutrients from food, which has an adverse impact on the function of the whole body and the immune system (Perlmutter & Loberg, 2013). Additionally, if an individual does not receive the nutrients and essential vitamins sufficiently, the risk of chronic fatigue increases dramatically.
Skin issues caused by gluten
Gluten-containing products often cause the skin issues such as acne, allergic reactions, and eczema. In addition, this protein provokes premature aging of skin, namely reduces its elasticity and results in the appearance of wrinkles, age spots and edema. These phenomena are associated to the fact that gluten is accumulated in the body, settles on the walls of the intestines, and eventually disrupts the function of absorption of nutrients by the fibers of the small intestines. Thus, it violates the function of the guts causing health and skin problems. Gluten may provoke dermatitis herpetiformis, which is revealed as itchy blister-like rash on the body, especially on knees and elbows (Santon, 2013). Moreover, it intensifies the oxidative processes in the body resulting in premature aging of skin and the appearance of wrinkles.
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Gluten and celiac disease
Initially, it was a therapeutic diet solely based on the rejecting the gluten-containing products that was recommended for the patients with celiac disease. According to Santon (2013), celiac disease is a chronic autoimmune illness when the consumption of gluten damages the walls of small intestines. For these patients, a gluten-free diet was developed that reduced the negative effects of the disease. The diet implies the complete rejection of gluten-containing products throughout life. Celiac disease should not be considered as a sickness but rather as a healthy lifestyle (Sabatino & Corazza, 2009). The diet helps the patients with this disease turn into normal people who just watch carefully what they eat and select the content of their food in accordance with the needs and features of their bodies.
Gluten and behavioral issues
Optimal intestinal health has a great effect on a human’s mental state, behavior, and mood. Since gluten provokes poor digestibility of food resulting in the problems with guts, the consumption of this protein has a detrimental effect on mental condition contributing to depression and even schizophrenia. Despite the fact that gluten is not the direct culprit of the behavioral issues, it often causes serious problems with mood and mental health (Clough & Korn, 2014). The researches confirm that gluten prevents serotonin production. The latter is involved in control of mood, depression, and aggression. Its highest concentration is in the intestines (Monique, 2017). Therefore, proper nutrition is extremely important for the intestinal flora to improve the emotional state.
Compared to other diets, a gluten-free one is easy to follow due to a large list of available wholesome foods that are simple for cooking. The approach to the process of cooking can be different, but without going gluten-free changes do not occur (Clough & Korn, 2014). Gluten rejection from food restores the microflora and cures the intestines as well as removes toxins from the body. Following a gluten-free diet is not a sentence or a struggle but rather a way to change the lifestyle (Fast, 2011). A person who has chosen a gluten-free diet is allowed to eat all kinds of meat and fish, using any of the ways they are processed. The same is related to eggs, vegetable oil, and dairy butter. In addition, a gluten-free diet includes the cooking of a variety of vegetable salads, stewed and boiled vegetables, as well as fruits, which prevent a lack of vitamins. It is easy to make dishes from beans and lentils, and it is allowed to eat rice or potatoes as a side dish. The range of products of a gluten-free diet is diverse and easy in cooking. It provides the body's need for nutrients and does not require much time and strength.
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Effects of gluten on mental health
According to the neuroscientist, MD and nutritionist David Perlmutter, the products with large content of carbohydrates are silent killers of the human brain. Such foods usually contain gluten, which disrupts natural processes of digestion, interferes with the absorption of nutrients, and has a poor impact on the brain (Monique, 2017). The digestive system and the human brain are closely related. In case of bad mood, headaches, or insomnia, it is helpful to search for the problems in digestion. Researchers have reported that 52% of patients with depression have digestive problems (Perlmutter & Loberg, 2013). The reason is that nutrients are poorly absorbed, and thus the body begins to suffer from their lack, and the brain starves when it does not receive the required nutrients and vitamins. According to Perlmutter and Loberg (2013), the carbs can destroy the human brain causing dementia, ADHD, anxiety, chronic headaches, depression, and other health issues. In addition, the intestines are involved in the production of hormones and other substances providing the individuals with the good mood. The secret of mental health is in proper nutrition; therefore, following this simple principle every day, it is easy to keep a sharp mind and memory for many years.
Psychiatric issues associated with gluten
Psychiatric problems such as epilepsy, depression, and anxiety are common among gluten sensitive people. Individuals with celiac disease feel the effect of this protein on the neurological system, which is realized in headaches to peripheral neuropathy (Anderson, 2018). The studies report that such people have higher rates of anxiety and depression. According to research, about one third of humans with gluten intolerance are depressed, and about 17% demonstrate the symptoms of an anxiety disorder (Anderson, 2018). Based on the reports, the hypothesis is made that the intestines damage by gluten may cause nutritional deficiency in the body provoking depression and anxiety. People with gluten problems often complain of attention disorder, hyperactivity, sleep problems, and migraines. Researchers have detected gluten and its digestion product, casein peptides, in the urine of people with autism, schizophrenia, and ADHD (Monique, 2017). Moreover, dizziness among people with celiac disease is frequently observed. Therefore, the assumption can be made that gluten affects the nerve function and the balance system located in the inner ear. It is obvious that sensitivity to gluten can trigger various psychiatric problems. Thus, it is helpful to follow a gluten-free diet to minimize or eliminate neurological evidences associated with intolerance to this protein.
Following a gluten-free diet
Initially, it may seem to be difficult to follow a gluten-free diet and that the list of allowed products keeps a person hungry. However, in a while, a human learns that this diet includes a wide range of products, and the food is tasty, healthy, and nourishing. In addition, various grocery stores offer gluten substitutes, and many restaurants are focused on the needs of gluten-sensitive customers. For some people, gluten intolerance involves adjusting their diets and routines while others turn this process into a struggle (Clough & Korn, 2014). The success of a gluten-free diet includes double check of the foods content, since gluten is often added into the products that an individual does not expect to meet in. It is important to search for the products with “gluten-free” marking on package. Compared with other diets, it is simple due to the wide list of permitted foods. Thus, following the gluten-free diet, a person gets the required nutrients and vitamins and feels excellent and full of energy.
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Gluten and autism
Some studies report that a gluten-free diet helps people with autism demonstrate fewer symptoms. According to Fasano (2013), in 30% of cases, intestinal dysbiosis is considered the cause of autism, when the requested bacteria are not sufficient in the digestive tract. Thus, the key to eliminating the symptoms of autism may be the gluten rejection. However, there is no direct evidence that the diet is helpful for autism. Recent studies in the United States have not revealed the proof of such a link, but more thorough and deep research is needed on this topic (Clough & Korn, 2014). Since the problems with the gastrointestinal tract are a frequent contributing factor in autism, it can be assumed that a gluten-free diet improves the state of intestines. In any case, it is important not to wait for the results of further research but to try the diet and monitor the patients.
A gluten-free diet is initially required for people with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. However, celiac illness is not the only reason to reject gluten. This protein impacts aggressively the intestines resulting in poor digestibility of food even in healthy individuals. Recently, this diet has become more popular as it helps to solve various health problems. Due to gluten features, the rejection of this protein has a positive effect on the entire body since the metabolism is improved, the immunity increases, and the psychological state is refined. There is some evidence that a gluten-free diet is efficient in autism, schizophrenia, and other mental disorders reducing their symptoms. It is important to go a gluten-free diet for people suffering from autoimmune diseases, migraines and skin problems. Gluten-free meals assist celiacs to control their symptoms and prevent complications. A gluten-free diet is simple and accessible; moreover, the meals can be quite diverse and sufficient so that a person does not feel hungry and depleted. A properly composed diet is complete and ensures normal development and activity of a human. Gluten rejection leads to an improvement in overall health and well-being. Thus, gluten-free diet is good for health since it reduces the symptoms of some diseases and has a beneficial impact on individuals` lifestyles.