What is Gluten

So lets take a look what is Gluten and about Gluten diet and which foods contain and dont contain gluten

In the 7th century, the Buddhist monks discovered gluten, while kneading wheat flour with water to make a dough. Gluten is found naturally in grains and binds together two separate proteins found wfithin the grain. Gluten consists of two proteins, gliadin and glutenin, and is commonly found in wheat, barley and rye. As it is insoluble in water, it can be obtained by washing away the associated starch and used as a leavening agent. An important source of protein, gluten is found in foods in their natural state and also as an additive in low protein foods.

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Gluten Allergy and Intolerance

Gluten allergy results from being gluten intolerant. Gluten intolerance is often mistaken to be a food allergy, but it is actually an inherited autoimmune disease. It causes gastrointestinal distress to the immune system, leading to damage of the small intestine. Gluten intolerance is also called as celiac disease and has no cure but can only be prevented and managed by following some dietary rules. There are several types of gluten intolerance, each varying in their symptoms and severity:

Silent celiac disease: This is difficult to detect, as there are no external symptoms, but it can cause a substantial amount of intestinal damage.

Refractory celiac disease: A rare intolerance, in which the symptoms show no improvement, despite one being on a gluten-free diet for months. Some medical practitioners consider this form of intolerance to be a cancer.

Collagenous celiac disease: This is a fatal type of intolerance that accumulates a large amount of scar tissue under the intestinal lining that is characterized by diarrhea, emaciation and anemia.

Latent celiac disease: This type of intolerance does not show any external symptoms such as diarrhea and abdominal pain, though it can cause damage to the intestines.

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Gluten-Free Diet

Once diagnosed with gluten allergy, all it takes to ensure good health is precaution to take gluten-free diet. Though most foods are gluten-free in nature, they no longer stay free, when cooked with gluten. The U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires all companies to list food allergens on their labels, but unfortunately these labels do not tell consumers everything. You can ensure a complete gluten-free diet, if you buy fresh food and cook it yourself. Following are a list of gluten-free foods:

Grains and Flour: Gluten-free bread, biscuits, cakes and flour, made from whole grains are easily found in the market.

Fruit: They are naturally free, however you must be careful while cooking or buying prepackaged fruit, as their preservatives could have gluten. Fruits are best eaten raw.

Vegetables: Like fruits, vegetables are also gluten-free in their natural state. It’s the cooking medium that can add gluten to the vegetables. It is best to steam, boil, saute and even stir fry them using a gluten-free medium.

Dairy: Most milk products are gluten-free, but one must check the ingredients while purchasing cheese, butter and yogurt.

Meat and poultry: They are also gluten-free but the commercially prepared meat and poultry products have gluten in them. While cooking at home, it’s best to use gluten-free flour to make gravy for your food.

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Foods Containing Gluten:

According to the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), two million Americans suffer from gluten allergy. It is believed that genetics has a major role in gluten intolerance. As said earlier, only prevention can aid in managing this allergy. Following is a list of some foods, one must avoid:

Barley
Rye
Wheat
Oats
Bulgur
Durum wheat
Semolina
Emmer/Farro wheat
Matzo flour
Udon
Spelt

Untreated gluten intolerance increases the risk of other autoimmune diseases including cancer. It could also lead to malnutrition, diabetes, lupus etc. It may seem a daunting task to differentiate between gluten and gluten-free foods, but the list for the latter is longer and it just takes a little awareness and planning to lead a healthy life.

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4 Responses to “What is Gluten”

  1. I have been reading about Gluten and I need to know more about it. I have been having stomach problems for a couple of years. Nausea, having 3-5 B.M.’s a day and I am going through menopause. I am so tired all the time and my joints hurt all day and now all night. I think its the Gluten in my diet but I don’t know. My Dr. thinks it’s all in my head so I am through talking to him. Please send me information about Gluten and a list of foods to eat or not to eat. Very confused!

  2. Whenever i have diarrhea, i just take some Diatabs or Imodium tablets and it gives me some relief after a few minutes.`;-

  3. one time i got diarrhea attack while riding on a long bus trip, it really sucks~”.

  4. gluten free foods are very helpful specially for those people that have very bad allergies to it “”

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