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Yeast, Gluten and Dairy Free Diets

By Laura Wallace Henderson

Your diet can play a major role in your overall health, especially if you suffer from food allergies or certain medical conditions that may affect your digestive tract. Gluten-, yeast-, and dairy-free diets all provide specific results designed to treat different health disorders. Following a diet that restricts certain substances may help improve your condition and minimize digestive discomfort.

Gluten-Free Diet

The main purpose of a gluten-free diet is to treat a condition known as celiac disease. This disease causes irritation and inflammation within your small intestines. Gluten is a type of protein that exists naturally in foods that contain grain products, such as barley, rye and wheat. This diet requires avoiding obvious sources of gluten, including graham flour, matzo meal, semolina and bulgur. Less obvious sources of gluten include many varieties of beer, candies, cakes, crackers, cereals, processed lunch meats, salad dressing, soy sauce and soups. Purchasing products that specify they are gluten-free will help you avoid these less obvious sources of gluten. Cornmeal, rice, tapioca and polenta are grain products that don’t contain gluten and are suitable ingredients to include in a gluten-free diet.

Yeast-Free Diet

A healthy digestive system contains a balance of yeast and bacteria. Candida albicans is a type of yeast that lives in damp areas of your body, such as your intestines, skin folds and vagina. Taking antibiotics may reduce the bacteria that keep yeast growth in check, leading to an abundance of candida. A yeast-free diet eliminates certain foods, such as beer and cheese, while increasing the intake of foods that may reduce yeast, such as garlic and barberry. Taking probiotics, such as acidophilus and bifidus, may help keep yeast growth within healthy limits, according to New York University Langone Medical Center.

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Dairy-Free Diet

Although most people can eat dairy products without any negative effects, people with lactose intolerance often require a dairy-free, or lactose-free, diet. Lactose is a natural sugar in milk, butter, cream, yogurt and cheese. Other products that may contain lactose include certain baked goods, salad dressings, margarines and shortenings. Eliminating lactose from your diet can help reduce uncomfortable symptoms, such as diarrhea, cramping and gas. Lactose-free dairy products are suitable for consumption.

Precautions

Avoid making major changes to your diet without first consulting your doctor, especially if you have a chronic illness or medical condition. When eliminating certain food substances, make healthy substitutions to ensure you consume adequate amounts of important nutrients. Prolonged and recurrent digestive disorders may signal the presence of an underlying medical condition that requires medical treatment.

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