Regardless of what others may say, going gluten-free can actually be a pretty cool experience. It allows you to get creative in the kitchen, build a new community, and most importantly, improve your health. While there are clear advantages to adopting a gluten-free diet, keeping your nutrition in check can be quite the balancing act. When you cut out gluten, you’re at risk of losing some important nutrients and negatively affecting your overall health. Nobody wants that to happen – especially us.
For those with recently diagnosed Celiac Disease, malabsorption may cause certain deficiencies that you can remedy with a gluten-free diet and vitamin supplements. Once you’re on the diet, there’s still a risk that you’ll miss out on the important vitamins and minerals usually found in wheat and grain products. The good news: it’s pretty easy to pinpoint the usual suspects and up your intake before it becomes a problem. All it takes is a quick lesson on the top offenders and you’ll be happy, healthy, and totally well-balanced in no time – and we’ve got you covered.
Iron deficiency anemia is the leading villain in any Celiac Superhero’s life. Malabsorption often takes a toll on your iron absorption, resulting in a deficiency that leaves you tired and plagued with symptoms. Talk to your doctor to find an iron supplement that’s right for you, and assess your dietary iron intake to identify the best foods to add to your daily meals. Red meat, fish, and poultry are great options for meat eaters, and offer the most bang for your bite.
For vegetarians and vegans, look for gluten-free grains rich in iron like quinoa, pasta, and buckwheat (yes, it’s gluten-free!). You can also find iron in leafy greens like spinach and kale, beans, lentils, and chickpeas, and a variety of nuts. With a little planning, your iron deficiency will be packing its bags in no time.
There are eight essential B vitamins that your body needs to achieve A+ health (sorry, we had to). Lingering malabsorption means that newly inducted Celiacs may start their GF diet with a B vitamin deficiency already in the works. Unfortunately, many gluten-free products like pastas and breads lack the added vitamin B and folic acid that their gluten counterparts deliver. Do your homework and identify gluten-free companies that fortify their products with essential B vitamins and folate, and start adding naturally gluten free, B-vitamin rich foods into your regular diet.
Lentils, leafy greens, meat, beets, bananas, and oranges are great sources of B vitamins and folic acid. De Boles gluten-free pasta is enriched with vitamin B and fiber, and Udi’s Ancient Grain Breads are rich in natural, wholesome, and delicious ingredients to keep your nutrition in check.
Crucial to healthy digestion and preventing several chronic diseases, most people rely on grain-based foods for at least half of their fiber intake. Gluten-free alternatives often fall short, leaving GF folks searching for other ways to obtain this crucial nutrient. It turns out that there are many healthy, fiber-rich options out there, many of which will increase your protein intake along the way. Our favorites: whole grain, gluten-free pastas, quinoa, beans, whole fruits and vegetables (skip the juicer!), and nuts. Check out nutrient-packed products like Mary’s Gone Crackers, Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-free Muesli, and our very own GFB protein bars, which contains at least 3.5 grams of dietary fiber (and 10-12 grams of protein!) in each bar.
How do you keep your gluten-free diet rich in vitamins and nutrients? Share your tips with us in the comments below!