After being confined to health-food stores for years, gluten-free foods have become the latest food fad. Gluten-free products are starting to line the shelves at grocery stores, but most people are still in the dark when it comes to the health benefits of a gluten-free diet.

 

People with celiac disease can’t tolerate gluten, not even small amounts. Just 50 milligrams of the protein—about the amount in one small crouton—is enough to cause trouble. In people with celiac disease, gluten in the bloodstream triggers an immune response that damages the lining of the small intestine. This can interfere with the absorption of nutrients from food, cause a host of symptoms, and lead to other problems like osteoporosis, infertility, nerve damage, and seizures.

 

But lately it’s become hip to go gluten-free. People have been switching to gluten-free diets to lose weight, boost energy, treat autism, or generally feel healthier.

 

But there are many health benefits. If you choose to start a gluten-free diet, you are actually eliminating a variety of foods from your diet that are unhealthy. Fried foods would be off limits, because of the breading, and desserts high in sugar and fat would be removed from your diet completely. On a gluten-free diet, you would likely eat more fruits and vegetables, just because they are several food sources that are non-starchy, and almost completely gluten-free.

 

By eating only gluten-free foods, you will also be eliminating unhealthy oils from your diet, as well as unhealthy carbohydrates found in bread products like doughnuts and pastries.

 

Many of the gluten-free foods available are healthy for you, and can also help you lose weight with the right combinations and proportions of other foods. Just keep portion size in mind, and be sure to choose gluten-free starches such as brown rice, sweet potatoes, and quinoa. Just make sure you do research and know the facts before you start any new diet.

 

Thinking of going gluten-free? Here is what you need to know.

 

For more info, visit http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/gluten-free-diet/my01140

 

Or for a list of restaurants with gluten-free options in your area, visit:

http://www.urbanspoon.com/t/17/1/Denver/Gluten-Free-Friendly-restaurants

Achieving a healthier lifestyle may seem overwhelming, but making even small changes everyday can make a huge difference over time. Here is a great list we found with a few ideas to get you started on your journey to a healthier life- one step at a time!

The Healthy Living Manifesto

20 Health Benefits of Drinking Lemon Water We tend to reach for those warm beverages in the morning like coffee and tea, but try starting your day with some warm lemon water first to kick-start digestion. The water doesn’t always have to be warm, but it should be purified. Simply use half a fresh lemon per large glass of water or to taste and sip throughout the day. Providing more than just hydration, fresh lemon juice and water can deliver surprising benefits. Lemon is a natural energizer; it hydrates and oxygenates the body so it feels revitalized and refreshed!

Here are 5 health benefits of drinking lemon water that elevate drinking it for reasons beyond just taste:

Support immune function: Lemons are high in antioxidant vitamin C, known for its supportive role in healthy immune function1,2 which may reduce the risk of respiratory infection3. Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) found in lemons demonstrates anti-inflammatory effects, and is used as complementary support for asthma and other respiratory symptoms4,5. Lemons also contain saponins6, which show antimicrobial properties that may help keep cold and flu at bay. Last but not least, ascorbic acid enhances iron absorption in the body; iron plays an important role in immune function7.

Alkalize the body: Although the tartness of a lemon may make them seem acidic, lemons are actually one of the most alkalizing foods for the body. Lemons contain both citric and ascorbic acid, weak acids easily metabolized from the body allowing the mineral content of lemons to help alkalize the blood.

Aid digestion: Citrus flavonols8 are believed responsible for lemon’s traditional use as a digestive tonic. Believed to stimulate and purify the liver, lemon juice is traditionally understood to support digestive hydrochloric acid in the stomach further aiding digestion. Vitamin C status has been associated with reduced risk of peptic ulcers caused by the bacteria Helicobacter pylori9.

Clear skin: Vitamin C and other antioxidants in lemons combat free radical damage. Free radical damage — especially as caused by UV exposure and environmental toxins — is responsible for many symptoms of aging. Antioxidant intake can help offset this damage, minimizing wrinkles. Further, lemon juice can be applied topically to scars and age spots to help reduce their appearance. Traditionally used as a liver stimulant, lemon water is also believed to help purge toxins from the blood, helping to keep skin clear of blemishes.

Promote healing: Ascorbic acid (vitamin C), found in abundance in lemons, promotes wound healing, and is an essential nutrient in the maintenance of healthy bones, connective tissue, and cartilage10. As noted previously, vitamin C also displays anti-inflammatory properties. Combined, vitamin C is an essential nutrient in the maintenance of good health and recovery from stress and injury.

The Top Fat-Burning FoodsBoost your metabolism

It’s true: Certain foods have a very high thermogenic effect, so you literally scorch calories as you chew. Other eats contain nutrients and compounds that stoke your metabolic fire. Feed your metabolism with these.

Whole grains

Your body burns twice as many calories breaking down whole foods (especially those rich in fiber such as oatmeal and brown rice) than processed foods.

Lean meats

Protein has a high thermogenic effect: You burn about 30% of the calories the food contains during digestion (so a 300-calorie chicken breast requires about 90 calories to break it down).

Low-fat dairy products

Rich in calcium and vitamin D, these help preserve and build muscle mass—essential for maintaining a robust metabolism.

Green tea

Drinking four cups of green tea a day helped people shed more than six pounds in eight weeks, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports. Credit EGCG, a compound in the brew that temporarily speeds metabolism after sipping it. To up your intake, keep a jug of iced tea in the fridge.

Lentils

One cup packs 35% of your daily iron needs—good news, since up to 20% of us are iron- deficient. When you lack a nutrient, your metab slows because the body’s not getting what it needs to work efficiently, says Tammy Lakatos Shames, RD, co-author of The Secret to Skinny

Hot peppers

Capsaicin, the compound that gives chili peppers their kick, heats up your body, which makes you melt additional calories. You can get it by eating raw, cooked, dried, or powdered peppers, says Lakatos Shames. “Add as much cayenne or hot sauce as possible to soups, eggs, and meats.”