Digestion is one of the most important functions of the body. A happy, healthy belly goes a long way in keeping us happy and productive. During monsoons, we usually have a bit slow digestion, so eating is important, and we should eat as much as we need to to maintain our energy. These days, a lot of my patients report gas, bloating, constipation, and other similar issues. I owe this to the seasonal effect. A few simple steps can go a long way in supporting digestion such as consuming spiced water, grilling after meals, snacking, eating in the 7am to 7pm window, etc.
One thing that always works is giving the system a rest from the usual daily food ingredients known as gluten. Our diets are very heavy on gluten, a protein found in wheat and its products such as barley, and grains such as rye and barley. The problem isn’t gluten, but the overload by our food. Today most of what we eat is gluten-based. Traditionally, we have changed our pills according to the seasons, and using the same principle, I have found good results in relieving stomach symptoms.
I wouldn’t recommend cutting out a whole but just changing one meal and choosing a snack works just fine.
Why gluten pills:
1. Consumption of gluten-free grains is associated with improved stomach symptoms. While it has a more significant impact on people with celiac and non-celiac gluten sensitivity, including gluten-free grains in any main meal and snack helps too. Breakfast or dinner should be the perfect choice.
2. All gluten-free grains are very rich in nutrition. Grains are not usually eaten for their protein content because they are deficient in essential amino acids, but gluten-free grains like amaranth and quinoa contain all nine essential AAs, making them a source of complete proteins. While avoiding whole wheat, there is a chance to reduce your fiber intake, but on average, most gluten-free grains contain more fiber compared to wheat. In addition, they are good sources of minerals such as iron, calcium and vitamins.
3. Hunger is better controlled because this whole grain takes time to digest. At the same time, its disintegration is gradual, so there is a constant release of energy and there is no need to eat between meals. That way, you’re like whole wheat minus the gluten.
4. Gluten-free grains are a treasure trove of antioxidants. Polyphenol content and versatility wonder in reducing oxidative stress. Oxidative stress leads to inflammation, and persistent stress is a major cause of heart disease, early onset of prediabetes and diabetes.
5. Gluten-free grains have a positive effect on heart health because they help lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and total cholesterol. They also showed a positive effect in controlling blood sugar levels.
Common Indian Grains:
Here is a list of some popular Indian gluten-free grains and how they can be included in meals:
1. Amaranth: Usually made like dahlia, Ata amaranth can be used for chapati or shila.
2. Buckwheat or koto: Very versatile, it makes a good homemade chapati pizza base, chila/dosa. Buckwheat noodles are also available.
3- Sorghum: It can be used as flour, and it also bakes well.
4. Corn: Steam it, make chapatis with it, and use it as a soup or snack, this is the gluten-free grain we all know.
5. Raji: It makes a great drink and can be used to make idle / dosa / dhokla.
6 – Sama Ki Shawal: It can be used as rice and also for dosa or raw dough
7- Bajra: Very common in Maharashtra, this is a versatile grain that can be used as a flour or as a dal.
This is not an exhaustive list but it does give you an idea of what to use. I have found that my patients respond positively to this change, in fact even if they use these pills 3-4 times a week, they notice some improvements.
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