Gluten free foods are becoming more popular as the demand increases. You have probably already noticed more gluten free breads made from gluten free grains popping up at your favorite grocery stores.
What the Heck is Gluten? Gluten is found in wheat, rye, and barley. Gluten is one of the most complex proteins consumed by man and has a very large molecule that is hard for your digestive system to break down. The problems start when gluten enters your small intestine. For the gluten intolerant, gluten can wreck havoc on your health by ripping holes in the lining of your system. This can create leaky gut syndrome and pretty serious allergic reactions from your immune system.
This intestinal damage will weaken your ability to absorb essential nutrients from your food which will then lead to malnutrition and later to more serious health problems like a full blown disease. Grains that do not have gluten are rice, corn, quinoa, tapioca, buckwheat, millet, teff, amaranth, sorghum, and pure oats. Since wheat, rye, and barley are grains that naturally contain gluten, eating oats that have been processed in the same plants as these grains will be cross contaminated with gluten. Wheat gluten grains include spelt, wheat bran, wheat germ, wheat berry, triticale, couscous, durham, bulgar, farina, semolina, einkorn, farro, graham, udon, seitan, wheat grass and matza.
What are Common Gluten Intolerance Symptoms You can Spot?
Symptoms to watch for after consuming gluten would be discomforts such as gas, bloating, diarrhea and constipation. Watch for fat in your stools, cramps, aching joints, tingling and numbness, headaches, rash, itchy skin, and irritability. Longer term conditions could include irregular menstrual cycles, slowed child development, weight gain or weight loss, depression, and nutritional deficiencies.
A more serious gluten intolerance is called Celiac disease and when gluten is consumed this actually triggers your body’s immune system. Celiac disease is caused by the inflammatory interaction of gliadin which is a gluten protein. This inflammation flattens the lining of your small intestine and impedes your small intestine’s ability to absorb nutrients from food. This disease can run in families and is more common then most people think. If left untreated can result in more serious complications like Type 1 Diabetes.
If you want to eliminate this disease, you will have to eliminate all gluten containing foods and stay on a gluten free diet.
An Up and Coming Gluten Free Grain is the Quinoa Grain Quinoa is high in protein and has a high content of the valuable amino acid lysine. Usually grains do not have this important amino acid. This amino acid is needed for the absorption of minerals such as calcium and for muscle building. Important amino acids like lysine are needed to produce your body’s enzymes and hormones. A complete protein food contains all eight essential amino acids and quinoa qualifies.
Gluten Free Food Tips
Gluten free desserts can be made by replacing gluten containing flours with gluten free flours. There are a lot of beautiful cookbooks being produced to show people how to make wonderful gluten free treats. Natural Gluten free foods are whole dairy products, meats and poultry, fish and seafood, nuts, beans, eggs, fruits and vegetables. As you can see, gluten is primarily a problem when you consume grains and unfortunately the additives added to most processed foods contain some form of gluten.