JULY 2013
Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida

Nutrition

The Gluten-Free diet: a diet du jour

BHAVI NIRAV

By BHAVI NIRAV

Gluten is a large, composite protein that our bodies cannot digest completely. This leads to irritation of our intestinal lining, which causes inflammation, and inflammation in the digestive tract leads to an upset stomach.

Gluten is a protein found mainly in wheat, rye, barley.

Gluten saga: To meet the growing demand of wheat, agricultural scientists created two hybrid strains from which 99 percent of wheat is produced. The modern wheat (hexaploid) has 95 percent of proteins carried by ancient wheat (diploid wheat) and 5 percent are completely unique proteins. The creation of an entirely unique 5 percent of proteins, is effectively responsible for so many people’s wheat sensitivities. Modern wheat is higher in starch, glutamine (an amino acid that has an inflammatory effect on the body) and low in protein and trace minerals.

The gluten-free diet (GF diet) is a treatment for Celiac disease and beneficial for people who are gluten intolerant. Gluten intolerance symptoms mirror the symptoms of Celiac disease, such as diarrhea, constipation, bloating and abdominal pain. Fatigue, headaches, joint pain and brain fog also are common.

Gluten-Free Benefits for Anyone

A GF diet can have a variety of health benefits, such as improving cholesterol levels, promoting digestive health, and increasing energy levels, if you have gluten intolerance.

GF diet also reduces inflammation and allows the gut to recover, which often alleviates symptoms elsewhere in the body

According to recent medical literature, people with the following conditions may benefit considerably from a GF diet: Rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, parkinson’s disease, neuromyelitis (inflammation of the nervous system), peripheral neuropathies, seizures, autism, ataxia (loss of balance), Down syndrome, osteoporosis, Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, anemia, etc.

Weight Loss: Eliminating gluten from diet could actually help you lose weight. You get rid of ton of processed foods from your diet such as maida (refined flour), crackers and cereals. Zero intake of these products help you to shed the pounds.

Digestive health: Improved digestion, regular bowel movements and minimal bloating or cramps after a week of no gluten, are reported by people on GF diet.

Gluten-Free or low-gluten diet tips:

Try alternative low gluten or gluten free options such as potato, corn, rice, soy, tapioca, amaranth, quinoa, spelt, buckwheat, or bean flour instead of wheat flour.

Spelt has much less gluten than wheat. If you do not have Celiac disease or significant gluten sensitivity, try spelt bread and spelt spaghetti. It is easier to digest than virtually any other type of grain.

Amaranth (rajagro) is not truly a grain but used as a grain substitute. Like other grains, spelt and amaranth contains all eight amino acids, and is high in complex carbohydrates. Amaranth has high-protein content and environmental advantages since it is significantly hardier and more drought-resistant than other staple crops.

Sorghum is a GF grain. It has approximately double the amount of protein and triple amount of fiber than rice flour. Sorghum flour is light in color and has a milder flavor, somewhat similar to wheat. Research indicates that phytochemicals in sorghum have antioxidant activity, which may help fight the onset of cardiovascular disease by protecting lipids from oxidation. Since it shows reduced rate of starch absorption and a lower rise in blood glucose, it benefits diabetics and pre-diabetics.

You don’t have to worry about the little things such as salad dressings, soy sauce and malt flavorings, but if you avoid the major red flags in the GF diet, you just might start to feel healthier.

Most of the foods you consume on a GF diet may help promote healthy weight loss, especially if you eat a well-balanced diet coupled with portion control that contains essential protein, carbohydrates and fat.

So go ahead give it a try and make this GF diet your BFF.

Gluten free avocado parathas

Combine all dry ingredients in bowl, add mashed avocado in the center, and knead the dough add yogurt or lemon juice to form a nice flour ball and let it sit covered for 5-10 minutes. Rub any cooking oil in your palms divide the dough into 6-8 round balls, and roll out parathas on a plastic wrap. Grate some garlic on top of parathas. Cook them like regular parathas with or without oil. Serve with your favorite chutney or pickle.

To our health!

Bhavi Nirav is a Registered Dietitian/M.S., R.D., L.D., certified yoga practitioner, and can be reached at swarayog@gmail.com

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