What is Gluten? Treating Gluten with Gulten Free Diet
Gluten in Diet
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a compound comprising of various proteins. Gluten is commonly found in wheat and cereals belonging to the Triticeae family. It is also added to several foods, as a binder and thickener, to enhance flavor, and as a protein supplement.
Allergy to gluten leads to gluten intolerance and is manifested in the form of symptoms associated with gluten intolerance.
What is Gluten Intolerance? : Causes
Gluten Intolerance is a medical terminology that describes three conditions: wheat allergy, non celiac gluten sensitivity, and celiac disease. It is an auto immune condition, wherein the body cannot process certain proteins; and this progressively develops in to a very serious type of malnutrition.
The body is unable to digest proteins that are present in wheat, barley, and rye; and the villi in the gastrointestinal tract die off. Normally, the villi absorb nutrients from the food; consequently, without the villi, the lining of the GI tract will have to exert more to process all the foods.
It is necessary to understand what causes gluten intolerance in the body; and what are the symptoms of gluten intolerance in children and the symptoms of gluten intolerance in adults.
The precise cause of the condition is unknown; however, gluten intolerance often runs in families. It is an auto-immune disorder, where, the body's immune mechanism overreacts to the gluten in food.
Gluten Intolerance/ Sensitivity Symptoms
Commonly seen symptoms of celiac disease / gluten intolerance are:
- Preliminary manifestations include bloating and gaseous distension, especially, after you consume gluten-foods.
- Gradually, one tends to develop constipation, giddiness and fatigue.
- Constipation alternating with diarrhea occurs over a period of time; and there will also be abdominal pain.
- Anemia develops eventually.
- Headaches, numbness, asthma and night sweats are other characteristic symptoms.
- Dermatitis or eczema may occur as well.
Foods to Avoid for Gluten Intolerance
Gluten is chiefly found in wheat, rye, durum, barley, spelt, einkorn, kamut, farro, graham, and semolina. Also, it is added to thicken and bind certain foods, augment flavor and boost the protein content.
As a thickener, gluten may be present in soups, broths, sauces, salad dressings, gravies and marinades. To augment flavor, it is used in coffee, spice blends, dairy products, bouillon, vinegars, and liquors.
Gluten also acts like a protein supplement; and is useful in meat substitutes. ‘Wheat meat' or ‘imitation meat’ contains concentrated gluten.
Thus, these foods must be avoided at all costs to keep the symptoms of gluten intolerance at bay.
Gluten Free Diet
Avoiding gluten altogether is the only way to manage the condition successfully. In addition to avoiding gluten-packed cereals, you also need to read labels carefully and know what it might contain. When a product says ‘gluten-free’, it means, it contains less than the minimum standard that is considered to be harmful.
Your diet should comprise of:
- Seeds, beans, nuts
- Fresh eggs, poultry
- Milk, yogurt
- Fresh meats, fish
- Fruits and vegetables
Dietary Suggestions to Deal with Gluten Intolerance
Here are a few things that you need to take care of while embarking on a gluten intolerance diet:
- The most vital aspect of the treatment regimen is to completely eliminate gluten rich products from your diet.
- You need to start taking a fiber supplement or a fiber rich diet; confer with your health care provider before embarking on to supplementation.
- Doctors also prescribe vitamin B complex as well as vitamin D supplements in order to make up for any dietary insufficiencies.
- Step up your intake of pro-biotics; supplements or food sources such as yogurt are particularly important to help digest the food better.