Gluten-Free Diet and Tennis

Gluten-free diet enables Novak Djokovic to take over the tennis world

May 24, 2011 / Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

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(dailyRx News) An up-and-coming tennis athlete became a star in 2011 with the help of a gluten-free diet! Novak Djokovic has a record of 37-0 and seven titles. Who knew allergies could be so detrimental?

Before this year, Djokovic had a average serve and a soft forehand. He did have a world-class backhand, but how far could that take him?

According to The Wall Street Journal, after discovering an allergy to a protein found in common flours, Djokovic started a gluten-free diet and now plays tennis better than anyone!

"A gluten allergy can hurt performance."

Gluten-free diets are fast becoming the “in” diet. David Levitsky, a professor of nutrition and psychology from Cornell University comments on the beneficial effects gluten-free diets can have on mental energy. Tennis is not only a physical game, but a mental one and confidence is very important.

Levitsky believes the other part to Djokovic’s great success is the belief of the cause of the disorder so “if you believe it, you change your behavior in the direction of being cured”.

The 24 year old tennis player has gone from alright to fantastic and all from discovering an allergy and regaining his confidence.

Mark Bans comments, "by cutting out a major source of carbohydrates, Novak has reduced the 'up and down' sugar rollercoaster addiction," allowing Novac to feel and perform better.

Gluten-free diets can work for people with mild allergies, but one should be cautious of malabsorption. Finding the appropriate foods for a gluten-free diet can be challenging, but with information on the internet, finding information has become much easier.

An allergy is completely different than celiac disease. A person with celiac disease must be on a gluten-free diet because gluten is harmful to their body causing the inability to absorb nutrients.

Gluten-Free Diet Suggestions:

  • Amaranth
  • Arrowroot
  • Buckwheat
  • Corn
  • Cornmeal
  • Gluten-free flours (rice, soy, corn, potato, bean)
  • Hominy grits
  • Polenta
  • Pure corn tortillas
  • Quinoa
  • Rice
  • Tapioca

Must avoid foods and drinks with:

  • Barley
  • Bulgur
  • Durham
  • Farina
  • Graham flour
  • Kamut
  • Matzo meal
  • Rye
  • Semolina
  • Spelt (a form of wheat)
  • Triticale
  • Wheat

Read nutrition facts and labels to determine if these ingredients are found in food.