Gluten-free isn’t exactly an entirely new fad — and maybe you’ve heard from friends, or even celebrities, who claim they’ve lost weight and just feel like a brand-new person now that they’ve gone gluten-free. Well, not only does it not necessarily help you shed those unwanted pounds, but so long as you don’t have an intolerance, you actually need gluten as part of a balanced diet. It can also help lower the risk of heart disease!
- Grains are Heart Healthy: The American Heart Association says that whole grains are an essential part of any healthy diet and grains can help improve cholesterol levels, and have been shown to lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity and Type 2 Diabetes.
- Lots of Vitamins: One of the vitamins found in bread is vitamin B6, which helps the nervous system operate as it should. Plus, grains contain selenium, which regulates the thyroid. The thyroid has a huge responsibility in keeping your body healthy, as it regulates body temperature, muscle, appetite, heart, brain, kidneys, and the reproductive system.
- Essential for Moms-To-Be: If you’re pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, gluten is especially important for you, so listen up! Folic acid, found in whole grains, can help prevent birth defects and it can help with the development of your baby’s brain and spinal cord. It’s recommended to make sure you’re getting folic acid while conceiving, during pregnancy, and if you breastfeed!
- Most Gluten-Free Products Are High in Calories and Sugar: To substitute for the missing wheat, most gluten-free items are made with other refined flours that lack nutritional value and lack sufficient vitamins and minerals. They also may be higher in calories and sugar than the same food that contains gluten.
- Carbs Make You Happy: In a study from the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers found that carbs can boost the chemical serotonin, making you happy! In the study, those on a low-carb diet experienced more depression that those on a low-fat diet high in good carbs. Smile for carbs!
- Improves Your Memory: Tufts University completed a study on the effect of carbs on the memory. The study reveled that those who ate a healthy diet of carbs had better working memory and visuospatial memory (remembering why they went into a room to do a specific task and visually remembering something they see on a map, for example).
- Increased Food Variety: It is easier to stick to a healthy diet when you are not limited to gluten-free foods.
- Helps Your Nervous System Function Better: If you suffer from anxiety or nervousness, complex carbs are a great way to minimize those symptoms. Unlike sugar or caffeine, foods like oatmeal or sweet potatoes help keep you relaxed and grounded.
- Gives You Energy: Perk up because those good carbs instantly give you energy, so eat some complex carbs earlier in the day to stay energized. And the best part? No crash!
- Fiber Keeps You Full: All those healthy carbs have fiber, which can keep you fuller longer and thus keep you from snacking and choosing unhealthy foods or giving into cravings.
To learn more about cooking delicious, healthy meals and how to stick to a nutrition plan that allows you to enjoy your favorite foods, like bread, check out my Eat More, Burn More Cookbook!