Although there are many benefits of adopting a gluten-free diet, many suffer from constipation. There’s no surprise, really – anyone suffering from uncomfortable bloating is often told to head for wholegrains to reap the benefits of fiber, but what do you do when you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance?
Despite popular opinion, there are many other fiber-rich foods out there that will suit a gluten-free diet.
This guide will give you plenty of ways to add more fib to your diet, and exactly how much each food contains.
All about fiber
Fiver is an essential part of every diet. It helps keep us feeling fuller for longer after meals, lowers cholesterol, keeps our blood sugar levels just right and works to prevent constipation and bloating.
As well as looking after our overall health, our fiber intake is a great indicator of diet quality. You shouldn’t really need to take fiber supplements, as someone with a healthy, balanced diet will consume enough normally.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says men in the 14-50 age bracket should aim for 38g of fiber each day whereas women should work towards 25g.
As we get older, the figure decreases to 30g for men and 21g for women.
Why do people suffer when consuming fiber?
Common sources of fiber for many are wholegrain rice, bread, corn, and oats – all of which those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance cannot eat as they all contain just that – gluten.
According to Healthcare Weekly, gluten is the name given to the various specific proteins that function almost like glue to keep food together.
When those suffering with celiac consume gluten, the immune system launches an attack on the small intestine.
This can cause even more bloating that was present before consuming fiber.
What foods are high in fiber?
Despite being on a restricted diet, those with gluten intolerances can still add fiber to their diets easily. It should be introduced slowly over a period of weeks to avoid bloating and gas.
Fresh fruit and vegetables, beans, nuts, and nut butter are all great sources of fiber without the gluten.
For breakfast, try a healthy serving of gluten-free porridge with almond milk. A cup of oats contains 7g of fiber.
Sprinkle or mix in flaxseeds or chia for texture and a few extra grams of fiber. One tablespoon of flaxseed contains 2 grams.
You could also give a slice of gluten-free wholemeal bread a try with a portion of nut butter for a tasty and quick morning snack.
If neither of these take your fancy, there’s plenty of other gluten-free breakfast ideas out there.
To go down the typical lunchtime sandwich route, use gluten-free bread with a filling of your choice, and a side of nuts or fresh fruit.
A handful of almonds contains around 3g of fiber, while apples, bananas contain 3 to 4 grams each.
If you’re feeling fancy, try a potato salad with green beans or a chicken caesar salad, swapping mayonnaise for yogurt.
When it comes to pasta and rice, there are plenty of gluten-free options on the market. You should be aware, however, that these options are often pricy.
Leafy greens such as spinach and kale are your best shout when it comes to vegetables. The great thing about these is that even if you don’t like the taste, a typical serving wilts down heavily when cooked. You won’t even notice you’ve eaten it.
Pair with a good source of protein like chicken or turkey and you’re good to go.
Nowadays, there are plenty of gluten-free snacks and desserts on offer to keep the body and sweet tooth satisfied.
If you fancy a spot of baking, try black bean brownies. At just 120 calories each, these have 2g of dietary fiber to add a small boost at the end of the day. Don’t worry, though, you can’t taste the beans!
You can also try cookies made with gluten-free oats and berries, or cakes made with almond flour.
For a lazier choice, simply hit the gluten-free aisle at the store. There’s now a whole range of yogurts, mousse, chips, and sweets on the market.
If you’re looking to boost your fiber intake with something sweet, choose anything containing 2 or more grams of fiber per serving.
How do I know if I have celiac disease?
There are thousands of cases of people who have suffered from ‘gluten intolerance’ for years that actually turned out to be celiac disease.
Celiac disease is a very serious disorder that imaware™ says affects around three million people in the US, or around 1% of the nation’s population.
If you suffer from bloating, weight loss without dieting, fatigue, diarrhea, unusual amounts of gas, constipation, anemia or an irritable skin rash, then it may be time to get tested for celiac disease.
Buying an at-home celiac disease test kit from imaware™ is a quick yet effective way to test for the disorder.
The company simply sends out a test that involves a small finger prick. Upon sending the test back, your blood is tested by experts for the disease and results are published online within five days.
Lifestyle changes can ease constipation
Although changing your diet is the best option for easing bloating, gas, and reducing constipation, there are a few other lifestyle changes you can make to help out.
Drinking plenty of water, for example, is a great way to ‘flush the system’ and boost the effectiveness of fiber. Pear and prune juice can also help to get stool out of the body quicker.
Exercise can also help to boost the body’s metabolism and therefore helps stool to pass through the body easier. Working up a sweat can also help to ease uncomfortable bloating.
Adults should aim for 150 minutes or 2.5 hours of moderate exercise weekly.
Even walking more can ease constipation. Try to get 10,000 steps in daily.