In an article I wrote a few weeks ago, Why Going Gluten Free Can Be Unhealthy, I explained how many people are trying to do the right thing by eating gluten-free foods, without realizing a "gluten-free" label is not equivalent to "healthy." I showed how going gluten free can be done right and how it can be done wrong, from a health perspective. In reality, one could argue that the standard Western diet is so abysmal that any minor change to it would be an improvement. A relative improvement, from very bad to just bad, does not mean optimal health.
If optimal health is our goal, we need to consider which foods are the most nutrient dense, have the most bioavailable nutrients, and cause the least amount of stress to our bodies.
Let's go over the three gluten-free alternatives that fit that criteria. These are the choices I consider to be the best options if you want to go gluten free the healthy way. Look for these in the gluten free foods you buy or use them as substitutes when you bake:
1. Coconut Flour
This gluten-free option is high in lauric acid. Lauric acid is a healthy saturated fat that's essential to your immune system. Healthy saturated fats are critical for cellular health. These fats are also important for healthy skin and thyroid health. Because coconut flour comes from the meat of dried coconut, it is also high in clean protein. Rich in fiber, coconut flour will also aid in healthy digestion and gut health.
2. Almond Flour
This healthy gluten-free alternative can be found in health food stores or made at home from organic almonds. Almond flour is high in monounsaturated fats, which decrease the risk of heart disease, and abundant in the antioxidant action of vitamin E. Almond flour is also abundant in magnesium and potassium, which are essential for maximized health.
3. Hazelnut Flour
High in protein, hazelnut flour also boasts high levels of the B vitamin folate, which is important for cell health and brain development.Hazelnut flour also has the highest proanthocyanidin content of any tree nut. These helpful compounds may help reduce the risk of blood clotting and urinary tract infections.
Obviously, what works for one person may not be best for the next. We have to take in consideration individual factors such as food intolerances or allergies. It is my passion to design health programs tailored to the individual, navigating them to a path of maximized health.
Will Cole, IFMCP, DNM, D.C., is a leading functional medicine expert who consults people around the world via webcam and locally in Pittsburgh. He has holds a level 2 Doctor of Natural Medicine (DNM) certification. Named one of the top 50 functional and integrative doctors in the nation, Cole specializes in clinically investigating underlying factors of chronic disease and customizing a functional medicine approach for thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions, hormonal imbalances, digestive disorders, and brain problems. He is also the host of the popular The Art Of Being Well podcast and bestselling author of Ketotarian, The Inflammation Spectrum, and the New York Times bestseller Intuitive Fasting.