What You Should Know about Gluten
If you’re looking to live a healthy lifestyle understanding gluten and how it impacts some people is important. Gluten intolerance is becoming more and more widespread. In this article we’ll define gluten, discuss gluten intolerance and its symptoms and then cover some of the foods that are available that are gluten free. If you’ve experienced any digestive issues understanding gluten can be an important step toward healthy living.
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a protein that is found in some grains – notably wheat, rye and barley. Gluten is what gives dough its elastic nature. Gluten is sometimes used as an additive for flavor or as a thickening agent making it difficult to detect in some food products.
What is Gluten Intolerance?
Some people are unable to properly digest gluten. This can be caused by conditions such as celiac, or by other types of gluten intolerance. One easy way to determine if you are gluten intolerant is to ask your doctor for a gluten intolerance test. Another way is to look for symptoms. For some people, gluten intolerance is a physical thing. They notice gluten intolerance symptoms like indigestion, diarrhea or bloating. For others, gluten intolerance produces psychological issues like moodiness, depression and lack of focus. Some people experience a combination of symptoms. The most common symptoms are abdominal pain and diarrhea usually occurring about 6 hours after ingesting food containing gluten.
What Kinds of Foods are Gluten Free?
Fortunately those who suffer from gluten intolerance will find a wide variety of foods from which to choose. All fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, meats and eggs are free of gluten. Within those categories there is an abundance of food choices. Gluten free does not mean giving up all grains either – rice, amaranth and buckwheat are just a few of the grains that do not contain gluten. More and more products are being introduced every day – baking mixes, flours, pizza dough – all made with gluten free ingredients. Choosing to live gluten free does not mean sacrificing any of your favorite foods.
If you find yourself experiencing any kind of digestive upset several hours after ingesting wheat or products containing gluten, you may want to try a gluten free diet for a period of time. If your symptoms lessen or disappear entirely then there is a good chance that you are gluten intolerant. It’s an easy, risk free way of troubleshooting the issue. With the wide variety of gluten free products available there is no issue with making all your favorite wheat products, only without the wheat. Give it a try, you and your family will be glad you did!