Nutrition: Should I Go Gluten and Dairy Free?

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Should I Go Gluten/Dairy Free?

You want to make a change in your health. You might have digestive issues, weight gain, low energy, belly fat or all of the above.

You hear from friends or other media outlets that a gluten free dairy free (GF DF) diet really helps with the above symptoms, and you just want to feel better.

If you are dealing with inflammation, it might be worth going on a GF DF diet to improve symptoms. Inflammation is responsible for a host of other unwanted symptoms such as low energy and weight gain, especially around the belly. As we age, these symptoms become more difficult to manage. Once we hit 40, it seems that we are living in a totally different body than in our 20s and 30s. We are exercising more and eating less, but just can’t seem to lose weight. And we are tired all the time.

Gluten and dairy can also contribute to digestive issues, specifically leaky gut. Leaky gut happens when the cellular junctions of the gut lining become compromised, leading to a “leaky” gut. As a result, food passes through the intestinal barrier, causing symptoms such as pain, bloating, and possibly food sensitivities.

Consider Nutrient Density

There are other things that your bodies need, too. As women, we are often used to depriving ourselves of so many things. Taking things out of our diet seems to be a solution or quick fix. However, reframing your perspective and focusing on nutrient density is a critical component to your GF DF diet.

Vegetables

If you are going GF DF, you are taking foods with pretty extensive nutrition profiles out of your diet. Considering nutrient density on a GF DF diet is crucial. Without a doubt, our bodies need a variety of vegetables, both cooked and raw. Vegetables have antioxidants, which fight free radicals, reducing inflammation in the body. Each vegetable touts a different antioxidant profile, which is why it’s important to eat the rainbow. You need an army of different fighters with specialized skills to fight any inflammation that comes your way. Vegetables are also a great source of fiber, which provides the gut with beneficial flora.

Protein

Our bodies also need clean sources of protein from legumes, pastured animals, and cold water fatty fish. Along with protein, legumes are packed with fiber, iron, zinc, folate, magnesium and phytonutrients. Pastured animals provide B vitamins and healthy fats. Cold water fatty fish have a great nutrient profile. They have a high protein content, along with essential fatty acids EHA and DHA, which build cells, support hormonal responses, and line the gut. Essential fatty acids have a direct impact on the body’s inflammatory process. Our bodies do not make EHA and DHA, which makes them essential.

Vitamin A and Vitamin D

Vitamins A and D are extremely important in supporting the inflammatory process in the body and supporting the gut lining. Research shows that people who have sufficient amounts of vitamin A and D in their diets have diverse microbiota, a strong gut lining, and a strong immune system (Aleman, 2023).

Hydration and Mineral Balance

Hydration and minerals are another important component to any diet. Hydration is important because water is the most important nutrient. It is responsible for our cells’ fluidity; if we are well hydrated then nutrients can get into the cell and toxins can get out. Minerals are the spark plugs of nutrient absorption. Without minerals, our cells cannot absorb nutrients from our food.

Exercise and movement

Movement is also a crucial part of any nutritional plan. Movement helps with lymph flow, digestion, and stress relief.

Sleep and stress relief

Sleep and stress relief are important as well. Getting seven to nine hours of quality sleep a night helps with blood sugar regulation, immunity, and detoxification.

Other Considerations

Other vitamins to consider are vitamin B and C vitamins. Observational research shows that consuming vitamin C through whole foods and supplementation can potentially reverse inflammation and other causes of metabolic syndrome in the body (Wong et al, 2020). B vitamins support cellular structure and function. The body’s metabolism of amino acids, glucose, and fatty acids are highly dependent on B vitamins. And, because these vitamins are water soluble, we are constantly eliminating them each day. More specifically, vitamin B12 and folate are responsible for eliminating inflammation in the body. (Ashok, 2021).

Simple sugars are inflammatory; therefore making your immune system work even harder to keep you healthy. Simple sugars also cause weight gain and visceral fat. High sugar intake is irritating to the gut lining, which destroys those tight cellular junctions that our tummies need. This causes further inflammation to the body, because anything that gets through the gut is identified as an invader or toxin (Arnone et al, 2022). Excess consumption of sugar also inhibits the absorption of other important vitamins, such as vitamin D.

An Elimination Diet Alone Will Not Solve All of Your Problems

A gluten-free dairy-free diet by itself will not solve leaky gut, inflammation, or excess body fat. Your body needs nutrient density through other foods to support its inflammatory process. Vegetables, clean sources of protein, essential fatty acids, and other vitamins are important factors in a healthy diet.

Sleep allows our bodies to process all of these nutrient dense whole foods, regulate our blood sugar, and restore the gut.

Including exercise is important to any lifestyle. Without movement, lymph flow and detoxification processes are hindered.

Furthermore, eliminating sugars is crucial in supporting the gut and the body’s inflammatory process.

 

 

References

Aleman, M., Moncada, M., & Aryana, K. (2023, Jan). Leaky Gut and the Ingredients That Help Treat It: A Review. Retrieved from PubMed.gov: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9862683/.

Arnone, D., Chabot, C., Heba, A., Kokten, C., Caron, B., Hansmannel, F., Dreumont, N., Ananthakrishnan, A., Quilliot, D., & Peyrin-Biroulet, L. (2022, Sept). Sugars and Gastrointestinal Health. Retrieved from PubMed.gov: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34902573/

Ashok, T., Puttam, H., Tarnate, V., Jhaveri, S., Avanthika, C., Trevino, A., SL, S., Ahmed, N. (2021). Retrieved from PubMed.gov: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8569690/.

Nutritional Therapy Association. (2020). Culinary Wellness Part 1. Retrieved from https://nutritionaltherapy.instructure.com/courses/202/pages/cw1-%7C-core-reading?module_item_id=12172

Ma, X., Nan, F., Liang, H., Shu, P., Fan, X., Song, X., Hou, Y, & Zhang, D. (2022)  Excessive Intake of Sugar: An Accomplice of Inflammation. Retrieved from PubMed.gov: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9471313/

Wong, S., Chin, K., & Ima-Nirwana, S. (2020). Vitamin C: A Review on its Role in the Management of Metabolic Syndrome. Retrieved from PubMed.gov: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7359392/.