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Gone Gluten-Free? A Dietitian Reveals 9 Essential Nutrients You May Be Missing

Unfortunately, not all food products are created equal. Consuming gluten-free foods could leave nutritional holes in a person’s diet because a lot of regulations aren’t the same for gluten-free products as they are for their regular counterparts. So, if you’re on a gluten-free diet regimen, there are a few nutrients you may be missing out on that are especially important! I've listed out the 9 essential ones below! But first a bit of history on WHY you might be missing these nutrients! Since 1941, refined grains have been enriched with iron and three B vitamins-- riboflavin, niacin and thiamin. Additionally, in 1996, the FDA required that enriched wheat flour had to be fortified with folic acid. Folic acid is especially important during pregnancy to prevent neural tube defects, the most common of which is spina bifida (a result of improper formation of the spine). Conversely, gluten-free food manufacturers are NOT required to fortify their products; so, following a gluten-free diet without a specific need and without the direction of a dietitian, can put you at risk for deficiencies. Since gluten-free foods have become so popular, manufacturers are doing a better job of providing healthier gluten-free choices. BUT, you still need to be aware of the nutrients that may be missing in your food. If you are following a gluten-free diet, try to consume food sources of macronutrients (proteins, fats, carbohydrates) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) that are naturally gluten-free! Additionally, gluten-free foods will often lack fiber, which can make some of the GI symptoms you may be experiencing worse (i.e. bloating and constipation). The following list showcases some of the healthiest naturally gluten-free foods that are high in the nutrients you might be missing, as well as some others: 9 Essential Nutrients to Get More Of: FOLATE: beans (garbanzo, black, lima, kidney, navy, pinto), green leafy vegetables, asparagus, lentils, orange juice and citrus fruits, animal protein (poultry, pork, shellfish, liver) RIBOFLAVIN: Eat more dairy products, eggs, green leafy vegetables, lean meats, legumes, nuts THIAMIN: Eat more beef liver and pork, dried milk, egg, legumes and peas, nuts and seeds NIACIN: Eat more yeast, meat, fish, milk, eggs, green vegetables, and beans VITAMIN B12:Eat more liver, beef, lamb, chicken, eggs, dairy products ZINC: Eat more oysters, beef, lamb, chicken, quinoa, lentils, milk, yogurt, salmon MAGNESIUM: Eat more green leafy vegetables, legumes, meat, seafood FIBER: Eat more whole fruits and vegetables, beans, legumes, brown rice, oatmeal (GF), nuts PROTEIN: Eat more eggs, dairy products (yogurt, milk, cheese), lean meat, poultry, fish, beans and legumes For those who have an allergy/intolerance to gluten or have Celiac disease, eliminating gluten is essential and can dramatically improve a person’s quality of life. In this case, strict adherence to a gluten-free diet is crucial to minimize complications! Regardless of your reason for eliminating gluten, be sure to maintain a wholesome diet with an adequate amount of health-supportive nutrients! Note: PLEASE consult with your doctor before making any changes to your diet or medications. The material on this site is provided for educational purposes only, and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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