Happy National Nutrition Month! This month is an important reminder to focus on making healthy food choices and to pay attention to the nutrients in our diets. For those of us who are gluten-free, it’s especially important to be aware of the nutrients that are often missing from our diets.
Gluten-free diets often lack key nutrients such as fiber, iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin B12, and thiamine. To make sure you’re getting the nutrition your body needs, here are some important nutrients to look for:
Fiber: One of the most important nutrients for those who are gluten-free is dietary fiber. Fiber helps regulate digestion, and it helps keep you feeling full for longer. Good sources of dietary fiber include fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds. It is also important to make sure that you are getting enough calcium and vitamin D. Nuts, seeds, and dairy products are great sources of calcium, while vitamin D is found in fortified milk and cereals, as well as in egg yolks, mushrooms, and fatty fish.
Iron: Iron is also essential for those on a gluten-free diet. Iron helps to transport oxygen to your cells, and it can be found in fortified cereals and legumes, as well as in red meat, poultry, fish, and eggs. Additionally, it is important to make sure you are getting enough B vitamins in your diet, as they help your body to release energy from food. B vitamins can be found in fortified cereals, enriched grain products, legumes, dairy products, and eggs.
Calcium: Calcium is important for strong bones and teeth. Try adding dairy-free milk substitutes such as almond or oat milk, or add leafy greens to your dishes.
Magnesium: Magnesium helps support muscle and nerve health, so make sure you’re getting enough. Look for gluten-free grains such as quinoa and millet, or add nuts and seeds to your diet.
Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 helps maintain healthy blood cells and support a healthy nervous system. Look for fortified foods such as nutritional yeast, or try supplementing with a vitamin B12 supplement.
Thiamine: Thiamine helps your body metabolize food and supports a healthy nervous system. Look for gluten-free grains such as quinoa and millet, or add nuts and seeds to your diet.
Remember, a balanced diet is the key to staying healthy, no matter what your dietary needs may be. Make sure that you are getting a variety of nutrients from a wide variety of foods, and aim to make healthy food choices whenever possible. Happy National Nutrition Month!