The Pros and Cons of a Gluten Free Diet for RA
Many people are wondering if they should try a gluten-free diet. Even if you haven't been diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, there still may be benefits to trying it. But to balance that out, there are some negatives as well.
Some benefits of a gluten-free diet for RA
You might start feeling better with less pain. A study by Hafstrom et. al. (2001) showed that some people with rheumatoid arthritis benefited from a gluten-free diet and had fewer flare-ups. It might be worth a try to see if you’re one of the people sensitive to gluten. But remember, just like you can't be half-pregnant, you can't give up gluten half of the time and expect to see any results. A good way to really see if it would benefit you is to go 30 days on a strict gluten-free diet, and then eat some food with gluten and see how you feel.
On a gluten-free diet you may be more likely to try some new grains that you probably haven’t tried before. There’s a long list of gluten-free whole grains that we don't often hear about including sorghum, buckwheat (don't let the name fool you, it's gluten-free), amaranth, millet, as well as the more popular quinoa and rice. Most of them are quite tasty and offer a variety of nutrients too.
You’ll probably eat a lot more fruits and vegetables and fewer overly processed foods on a gluten-free diet. Gluten is in a lot more products than you realize and if you’re going to be gluten-free that means finding healthy substitutes for some of your favorite gluten containing foods. It might be difficult in the beginning, as any change would be, but it’s worth a try if it helps you feel better.
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