Gluten-free diets are becoming more prevalent in today’s day and age, with one in five Americans admitting to giving up gluten in their food intake.
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a protein that is found in foods and is responsible for them holding their shape thanks to gluten acting like a glue-like substance. Gluten gives food a chewy texture and a prime example of a food rich in it is bread.
Where might you find gluten? The protein is primarily found in wheat, rye and barley, and their derivatives.
Why are people giving up gluten?
A sizeable chunk of the US population suffers from celiac disease, an autoimmune disease that forces the body to damage the small intestine. In the US alone, 1 in 133 suffer from the disease. Some symptoms of celiac disease are weight loss, malnutrition, diarrhea, bloating, constipation, low energy and fatigue, and anemia.
People suffering from the disease are advised to follow a gluten-free diet or stand the risk of medical disorders such as osteoporosis, infertility, multiple sclerosis, and other neurological conditions. As of now the only known cure for celiac disease is to avoid foods that contain gluten.
Nuts in their purest form are an excellent option for people with celiac disease and others who want to follow a gluten-free diet.
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Popular Gluten-Free Nuts
They are popular as a peanut butter or even in roasted form; they are rarely ever consumed raw, if at all. They are a popular smoothie option at the local juice bar and can also be found in cakes, desserts, and confectionery.
This makes peanuts an ideal snack at ball games for people wanting to follow a gluten-free diet as they pack nutrients such as vitamins, magnesium, niacin, copper, and manganese.
Almonds: Incorporating almonds to one’s healthy balanced diet may help in the effective management of , lower one’s LDL “bad” cholesterol levels in adults with prediabetes, possibly promote weight loss, and more.
Almonds’ versatility can be a selling point for people with celiac disease as they can be consumed as a substitute for regular milk, as muffins made from almond flour, or even as butter for their toast.
Cashews: Cashews are another great choice for people looking to go gluten-free with their diet.
This light-colored, kidney-shaped nut has all the health goodness one can want. Incorporating cashews into one’s diet takes very little effort as they can be eaten raw or roasted.
They are also versatile as they can be spread on toast as a butter or as an ingredient in soups, salads, stews, and more.
Pecans: Pecans are a good plant-based source of protein, containing 9.2 grams for every 100 grams, and this helps add bulk to your meals. What will be of particular interest for people with celiac disease is pecans’ antioxidant property owing to its Vitamin E content.
Consuming pecans may possibly improve one’s antioxidant profile in their blood, and this could possibly have a positive effect on your overall health.
Macadamia Nuts: Like most other nuts, these tree nuts, native to Australia, are rich in nutrients and essential minerals.
Macadamia nuts could possibly lower the risk of heart disorders when added to a balanced diet. A study showed consuming macadamia nuts noticeably reduced inflammation, which is a risk factor for heart problems.
Brazil Nuts: Brazil nuts’ unique color and smooth texture make them an appealing choice for people wanting to follow a gluten-free diet. They are very nutritious, high in energy, and an excellent source of selenium.
Consumers should be wary while consuming brazil nuts as too much selenium in one’s system may be detrimental to the human body.
Benefit of Nuts
Incorporating nuts in one’s diet may improve health in multiple ways and the fact that they are fun, tasty and easy to consume makes them a popular choice for people who follow a restrictive diet such as a gluten-free one.
Some benefits of nuts include, but are not limited to:
- Nutritious: One ounce contains selenium, fiber, copper, manganese, magnesium, protein, and more. They have high fat content, most of which is non saturated, have relatively low carb content, and are excellent sources of Vitamin E, phosphorous, etc.
- Weight control: Incorporating nuts in a balanced diet, in addition to a healthy lifestyle, has a profound positive effect on weight management. Research has backed the claim with one study showing overweight women losing a significant amount of weight and waist size owing to almond consumption as part of a balanced hypocaloric diet.
- Antioxidants: Nuts are a hub of antioxidants that can shield humans from oxidative damage. This is thanks to nuts having polyphenols that neutralize free radicals, which are unstable molecules that increase the risk of disease and cell damage.
- Lowers cholesterol: Consuming nuts can help lower “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides in addition to increasing “good” HDL cholesterol.
Going gluten-free could mean ditching food sources that one has always been familiar with all their lives.
The likes of pastas, pizzas, bread, and cereals will no longer play a part in consumers’ lives and this can be daunting for them.
However, many natural foods are gluten-free and they are easy to incorporate in a diet.
Nuts are possibly the easiest to include in a gluten-free diet owing to their high nutritional value and, more importantly, ease of access and consumption.
Nuts are very versatile and come in many forms. People choosing to head the gluten-free route have an excellent range of food choices for any meal of their day.