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Gluten-Free? Are you getting all the required nutrients?

If you have any form of gluten sensitivity, removing gluten from your diet is the step forward in improving your health and general wellbeing.

It is important to note, that wheat, barley, rye and other gluten containing foods are a rich source of nutrients, containing a variety of vitamins and minerals. However, do not fear! These nutrients are readily found and easily replaced in many other foods – you just need to know where to find them.

So how do you maintain a gluten-free diet and still get all the necessary nutrients?

The following is a list of 6 common vitamins and minerals you may be missing when following a gluten-free diet and where you can find them.

Fibre:

Fibre is a type of carbohydrates, but unlike regular carbohydrates, fibre can’t be broken down and absorbed by the digestive system. Instead, it passes through the body, slowing down the speed that food travels through the digestive system, keeping it healthy, regular, and making you feel fuller for longer! [1]

There are two different types of fibre (soluble and insoluble), both play an important role in maintaining digestive health.

Soluble fibre absorbs water when passing through the body, this combines to make a gel like substance inside the digestive system, helping to soften stools for an easy excretion. Soluble fibre it also important as it binds to other substances such as cholesterol and sugar, helping to slow down, or even prevent their absorption into the blood stream. This helps to regulate blood sugar levels, and why it is known to help prevent heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels. Additionally, soluble fibre is known to boost good but bacteria, helping to boost the immune system and even enhance mood.[2,3]

Insoluble fibre is the tough matter found in whole grains, nuts, fruits and veggies that that isn’t broken down by the gut, nor dissolves in water (kind of like roughage). It adds bulk to the digestive system which helps to keep it regular and prevent constipation. [2,3]

Where do I find fibre?

Soluble: fruit & vegetable, lentils, seeds and soy products.[4]

Insoluble: skins of fruit & vegetables, rice bran*, nuts and seeds.[4]

B Vitamins:

The body requires 13 essential vitamins, 8 of these are B vitamins. This complex range are required for growth, development and maintenance of the body’s systems.[5] Sufficient B vitamin intake is protective against several chronic diseases, including heart disease, stroke and neurodegenerative conditions. [6] Additionally, vitamin B facilitates the body’s ability to utilise energy from carbohydrates, proteins and fats, thus if you are lacking B vitamins, you are also likely to be lacking energy. [6]

Where do I find B Vitamins?

Sesame seeds*, legumes, milk, leafy green, eggs, nuts and mushrooms.[6]

Iron:

Iron is an essential mineral which serves many purposes in the body, perhaps most notably enabling red blood cells to transport oxygen around the body. [5] In addition, iron helps muscles store oxygen, plays a role in enzyme reactions (particularly those involved with energy production), and helps with proper functioning of the immune system.[7,8]

Where do I find iron?

The good news is, iron is found most abundantly in beef, lamb, chicken and fish it is also found in dried beans and lentils.[8]

Selenium:

Selenium is an nutrient that the body needs for reproduction, thyroid gland function[9], DNA production, manufacturing of proteins[5], protecting the body from damage caused by infection and to generally keep the body fit and healthy.[9] Selenium may offer protective effects against cognitive decline, cardiovascular disease and thyroid disease, making it an important nutrient to have.[10]

Where do I find selenium?

Brazil nuts, seafood, (tuna, prawns and sardines) walnuts[10, 8] 

Zinc:

According to a study published in the medical journal, Nutrients, zinc deficiency occurs in 67% of gluten sensitive people.[11] Zinc helps to develop the cells of the immune system. It plays an important role in various aspects of cellular metabolism including cell division, cell growth, catalytic activity of enzymes, protein synthesis and wound healing. Interestingly, Zinc is also required for a proper sense of smell and taste![12]

Where do I find zinc?

Nuts, tofu, legumes and miso

Magnesium:

Magnesium is responsible for over 300 biochemical reactions within the body! It contributes to maintenance of the nerve and muscle functions, playing a vital role in the reactions that generate muscle energy (ATP). In addition, magnesium also helps support a healthy immune system, helps to keep a steady heartbeat, and helps with bone strength.[13,14]

Where to I find magnesium?

Fruits or vegetables (such as bananas, dried apricots, and avocados), nuts (such as almonds and cashews), peas and beans (legumes), seeds, soy products (such as soy flour and tofu) and milk.[14]

With a bit of culinary creativity, you can make sure you’re feeling happy and healthy on your gluten-free diet! There are plenty of gluten-free foods to ensure you are getting all the important nutrients you may be missing.

As always, in environments where food preparation is out of your control, or when trying new ‘gluten-free’ products, take GluteGuard for gluten protection – giving you confidence to embrace your health and wellbeing.

*Ensure these products are gluten free.

References:

  1. Touyarou, P., et al., Monotonous consumption of fibre-enriched bread at breakfast increases satiety and influences subsequent food intake. Appetite, 2012. 58(2): p. 575-581.
  2. Sass, C 2016, What’s the Difference Between Soluble and Insoluble Fibre?, Health, <http://www.health.com/nutrition/types-of-fiber>
  3. MedlinePlus, 2016, Soluble Vs Insoluble Fibre, MedlinePlus, <https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002136.htm>.
  4. Modric, J 2017, List of High Fibre Foods, Soluble and Insoluble Fibre Chart, Health Hype, <http://www.healthhype.com/list-of-high-fiber-foods-soluble-and-insoluble-fiber-chart.html>.
  5. Waskey, A., Vitamins and Minerals. Encyclopedia of Global Health, 2008. 4: p. 1746-1749.
  6. Vitamin B, Better Health Channel, Editor. 2017: betterhealth.vic.gov.au.
  7. Australian Government, Iron, National Health and Medical Research, Editor. 2014: nrv.gov.au.
  8. Sloan, M. The best foods for vitamins and minerals. 2016.
  9. Selenium, National Health and Medical Research Council, Editor. 2014: nrv.gov.au.
  10. US Department of Health & Human Services, Selenium, National Institutes of Health, Editor. 2016: ods.od.nih.gov
  11. Berkenpas M, et.al 2013, Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies are Highly Prevalent in Newly Diagnosed Celiac Disease Patients, NCBI, <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24084055>.
  12. US Department of Health & Human Services, Zinc, National Institutes of Health, Editor. 2016: ods.od.nih.gov.
  13. Ancient Minerals 2017, What is Magnesium? How it Functions in the Body, Ancient Minerals, <http://www.ancient-minerals.com/magnesium-benefits/what-is-function/>.
  14. MedlinePlus, 20127, Magnesium in Diet, MedlinePlus, <https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002423.htm>.

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