Northwest is a gluten-free mecca

Where can gluten-free dieters find a mouthwatering meal? Seattle, for one.

In a study by LawnStarter that ranked nearly 200 of the biggest U.S. cities as the best places for gluten-free food, Seattle came in 10th. The ratings are based on gluten-free dining options, local demand, a supportive community, and access to allergy specialists. Seattle scored high in particular in access to the specialty food.

Another Pacific Northwest city, Portland, ranked sixth. New York City leads the list.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and triticale (a cross between wheat and rye). A gluten-free diet is essential for managing signs and symptoms of celiac disease (a condition in which gluten triggers immune system activity that prevents the absorption of nutrients from food) and other medical conditions associated with gluten.

A gluten-free diet is also popular among people who believe its benefits are improved health, weight loss, and increased energy.