Those who follow a gluten-free diet avoid consuming gluten, a protein found in most grains. This means limiting intake of wheat, barley, rye, and triticale — and sometimes, even avoiding foods that have come in contact with those grains. Many people who avoid gluten do so out of necessity; they’re allergic (or sensitive) to the protein. But many others have chosen to limit gluten intake for dietary reasons.
Though gluten-free diets tend to be rich in vegetables, meats, dairy products and other common sources of major nutrients, they tend to be associated with a number of vitamin and mineral deficiencies. These include vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium, zinc, iron and magnesium. This phenomenon is not yet thoroughly understood, but the Mayo Clinic suggests that restricting gluten may impact your body’s overall vitamin and nutrient intake.
Given this, it may be worth talking to your primary care provider to ensure you’re getting adequate amounts of all of these vitamins and minerals — even if you think you’re already doing so through your diet. You may be eating high-nutrient foods without thoroughly reaping their benefits. And if so, your doctor may recommend you further round out your diet with supplements.
Magnesium is a mineral that contributes to energy production, the structural development of bone, and DNA synthesis, according to the NIH. The NIH recommends that women aged 19-30 consume 310 milligrams of magnesium a day — that’s quadruple the amount found in one ounce of roasted almonds. (That recommended daily intake jumps to 350 milligrams among pregnant women in the same age group, and it holds steady at 310 milligrams among breastfeeding women in that age group.) Women above the age of 31 should increase their intake to 320 milligrams a day, according to the NIH. (Pregnant women in the same age group should increase that intake to 360 milligrams, and breastfeeding women can hold steady at 320 milligrams.)
Foods high in magnesium include almonds, cashews, peanuts, boiled spinach, and soy milk. Again, it’s possible to eat magnesium-rich foods on a gluten-free diet — the concern is whether your body is able to properly process the nutrient when it isn’t paired with some of the components of gluten-rich foods.