A Gluten-free Diet: Benefits And Foods Included

Mahima Kaur

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A Gluten-free Diet: Benefits And Foods Included

A gluten-free diet contains no gluten. Avoidance of gluten involves the complete omission of wheat (atta, suji, maida), rye, barley, and all products like breads, breakfast cereals, pooris, paranthas, macaroni, noodles, biscuits, cakes, pastries, halwa, chocolates, etc. These ingredients are often used as binding or thickening agents in various ready-to-eat foods, like sauces, kulfi, etc., and hence must be avoided. 

The hidden sources of gluten include additives, preservatives, and stabilizers found in processed food, medicines, and mouthwashes. A gluten-free diet helps tackle celiac disease. 

We will learn the benefits of a gluten-free diet and what foods are included in it.

Benefits Of Following A Gluten-Free Diet

1. A Gluten-Free Diet Improves Celiac Disease Symptoms

A Gluten-Free Diet Improves Celiac Disease Symptoms
Source: Healthline

A gluten-free diet is also called a celiac disease diet as it is the only treatment for celiac disease. Therefore, celiac patients must altogether avoid gluten for the rest of the life. Consuming gluten even in small quantities can cause intestinal damage. Thus, a gluten-free diet strictly avoids gluten consumption in any manner.

2. A Gluten-free Diet Heals Intestinal Damage

A Gluten-free Diet Heals Intestinal Damage
Source: Well+Good

In celiac disease, eating gluten triggers an autoimmune response, leading to the destruction of the villi, where nutrients are absorbed. Therefore, eliminating gluten prevents the autoimmune response, heals the intestine, and prevents further damage.

3. A Gluten-free Diet Improves Nutrient Absorption

A Gluten-free Diet Improves Nutrient Absorption
Source: NBC News

Destruction of the villi leads to nutrient deficiencies due to low absorption. Various studies have shown that a gluten-free diet heals the intestine, properly absorbing the macro and micro-nutrients. Efficient absorption of nutrients reduces the risk of iron deficiency anemia and osteoporosis.

Foods For A Gluten-free Diet

1. Vegetables And Fruits

Vegetables And Fruits
Source: Healthline

Without vegetables and fruits, the body will lose all the essential nutrients. They are naturally gluten-free. Vegetables and fruits contain required vitamins and minerals that prove beneficial to the body’s functioning, improving its immune system.

You can include starchy vegetables like corn, potato, and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, etc. Add in spinach, kale, bell peppers, radishes, onions, green beans, mushrooms, etc., and see how your body becomes fit. For fruits, bananas, peaches, berries, apples, citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, etc. Other starch-containing foods include rice, tapioca, cassava, etc.

Double-check your vegetables and fruits for canned ones. Avoid eating frozen or pre-packed fruits and vegetables, as they may contain gluten due to added flavors.

2. Protein-rich Foods

Protein-rich Foods
Source: The Spruce Eats

Many animal and plant-based sources contain protein that the body needs for energy. Most of these foods are gluten-free. Consume proteins from seeds (chia seeds, flaxseeds), legumes (like lentils, beans), seafood (fish, shellfish), poultry (fresh chicken, etc.). 

Avoid consuming proteins from junk food, processed chicken, ground meat, or proteins combined with other sauces and flavorings. Also, avoid ready-to-eat foods for your health purpose.

3. Gluten-free Beverages

Gluten-free Beverages
Source: FirstCry Parenting

When you are on a gluten-free diet, avoid consuming alcohol and sugary beverages. They are prepared by adding barley and other gluten-containing ingredients. Choose healthy drinks over alcohol and sugary drinks. 

For example, water, fruit juices, vegetable juices, lemonade, coffee, tea, etc., all are gluten-free. You can choose any one from them to drink or include in your breakfast.

4. Dairy Products

Dairy Products
Source: Serious Eats

Gluten-free dairy products include cheese, milk, butter, yogurt, cream, cottage cheese, ghee, etc. They are healthy food. Having them in your breakfast is an ideal way to fulfill a gluten-free diet need. And who doesn’t like to experiment with yogurt? Add some berries to it and see how delicious it tastes. Combine these dairy products with other healthy gluten-free foods to maximize the benefits to the body.

Be alert when you consume ice cream flavors, flavored yogurts, or flavored milk. They can contain gluten and some additives. Avoid drinking malted milk.

Gluten-Free Snacks You Can Eat

1. Gram Pancakes

Gram Pancakes
Source: I Am A Food Blog

Pancakes are a perfect dish to be served as breakfast or an evening snack. Bengal gram flour is rich in protein. The addition of grated carrots, spinach, onion, and tomato will provide adequate vitamins and minerals, making it a wholesome dish for a celiac patient. One can also replace Bengal gram with either buckwheat or pulses. Serve it with green chutney.

2. Soya Tikkis

Soya Tikkis
Source: My Tasty Curry

Soya Tikki is easy to make and a perfect meal to carry in the lunch box. Soya granules will provide the required amounts of protein. Along with this, you can add any green leafy vegetables, such as amaranth leaves/spinach. This will provide iron, calcium, and manganese. Carrots and peas will provide additional nutrients making it a perfect gluten-free snack served with mint and coriander chutney. You can also replace soybean granules with sago.

3. Millet/Corn Flour Ki Roti

Millet/Corn Flour Ki Roti
Source: Archana’s Kitchen

Pearl Millet is rich in iron and free of gluten; therefore, it can easily make chappatis rather than wheat flour. To make it more palatable, you can fill it up with potato, grated carrot, spinach, paneer, and some spices and condiments. This Indian bread can serve for lunch along with a sabzi, chutney, curd, or pickle. For variety, you can use ragi and corn flour instead of pearl millet for gluten-free Indian bread.

4. Mix Veg Fritters

Mix Veg Fritters
Source: Kitchn

Mix veg fritters makes a delicious snack for either mid-morning or evening snacks. You can make gluten-free pakoras with Bengal gram flour, onion, spinach, ginger, radish leaves, and salt. All the above ingredients will provide the required amounts of macronutrients and micronutrients.

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