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Gluten-free diet could have benefits beyond celiac disease

(Getty Images/iStockphoto/marekuliasz)

WASHINGTON — A gluten-free diet is important for those with celiac disease but there’s recent research that shows going gluten-free may have other benefits as well.

New evidence suggests that the gluten-free approach might also help those with chronic nerve pain, said Sally Squires, who writes the Lean Plate Club™ blog.

Recently at the American Academy of Neurology annual meeting a team of researchers from the United Kingdom presented the results of a new study of 60 older people with an average age of 70.

All had damage to nerves in the arms, hands legs or feet that can cause weakness, numbness or pain.

Researchers found that people who ate a gluten-free diet were more likely to be pain-free than those who continued to eat foods with gluten, according to the study.

After the researchers took into account age, sex and mental health status, they found that those who strictly followed a gluten free diet were 89 percent less likely to have pain than their counterparts who didn’t avoid gluten.

“This research points to the potential of maybe for other causes of illness that there might be some things that could be done with diet that could help everyone,” Squires said.

And gluten-free products are getting easier to find.

Squires said that in 2015 there were about $400 million worth of sales of gluten-free products and that’s projected to increase to nearly $2 billion in 2020.

She said that the taste and options available have improved as well.

“They’ve gotten much better and there are also a lot of great flours that are available for people too so you can get garbanzo bean flour and all different kinds of things that will allow you to live a very healthy and normal life like everyone else,” Squires said.

Sally Squires of the Lean Plate blog talks about a gluten-free diet for more than celiac disease

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