image provided by mellowmushroom.comCelebrities, restaurants, athletes and a slew of others are going gluten free.  Many experts are calling it the low carb diet of the decade, others are calling it a fad and many may wonder what is in it for me?  Gluten free products are popping up all over grocery stores, but most people are still in the dark when it comes to the health benefits of a gluten-free diet.

If you’re not familiar with gluten, it is a type of protein that is found in wheat, cereals and some grains. Gluten makes breads chewy without giving it a doughy like texture.  Although many have attributed the rise of popularity to weight loss benefits, it has actually become popular due to an increase in diagnosis of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity.  Celiac disease is a condition that damages the lining of the small intestine and prevents it from absorbing parts of food that are important for staying healthy. It is estimated that 1 in 100 Americans suffers from the disease and many more have gluten sensitivities that leave them feeling tired, achy and bloated. Celiac disease has also been linked to intestinal cancer; however risks can disappear after to five to ten years of on a gluten free diet, according to Dr. Peter Green, director of Columbia University’s Celiac Disease Center in New York.

A gluten-free diet can have a variety of health benefits, such as improving cholesterol levels, promoting digestive health, and increasing energy levels. Many of the foods found in the grocery stores contain large amounts of gluten, which can essentially be unhealthy for you. Overly processed foods contain chemicals and artificial flavors that can be harmful on the body.   By eating only gluten-free foods, you are eliminating unhealthy oils from your diet, as well as unhealthy carbohydrates found in bread products like doughnuts and pastries.

By eliminating gluten and eating a gluten-free diet can it help reduce your risk of heart disease, certain cancers, and other health-related conditions, like diabetes, if you have gluten intolerance. A gluten-free diet can also help your body ward off viruses and germs, just because many of the foods you eat will be full of antioxidants, and essential vitamins and minerals.

Whether you suffer from gluten sensitivities or not eating for your health by eating REAL food is best.  There is no one that can attest to that more than Sarah Stanley, which is why she joined the Udi’s online gluten free community as a community leader.   It is comprised of active, accessible people who all have an interest in and passion for gluten-free living.

If you have an interest in learning more about gluten free living and how it affects your overall health and wellness, I encourage you to check out the Udi’s Gluten Free Living Community