No Grain No Pain Is Gluten Free The Way To Go?
Most people associate celiac disease and gluten intolerance with digestive upsets but wheat allergies can affect many aspects of our health. Recent statistics show that more than 18 million Americans suffer from gluten sensitivity and many are unaware of it. Because many of the symptoms of gluten intolerance resemble those of other illnesses, it can be difficult to get an accurate diagnosis. Most people afflicted with wheat allergies spend months or even years chasing down the cause of their symptoms. Sticking to a gluten-free diet and adding natural health products and supplements to your life may help improve your digestion.
If you have four or more of the following symptoms, you may have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance:
- Frequent bloating or flatulence
- Acid reflux
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Diarrhea and constipation
- Joint aches and pains
- Brain fog
- Chronic fatigue
- Eczema or other skin conditions
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye that gradually erodes the walls of the intestines of people with celiac disease and wheat allergies. Over time, this intestinal damage prevents the absorption of crucial vitamins and minerals that support everything from energy to brain function.
People with gluten sensitivity typically experience a dramatic reduction in symptoms once they eliminate it from their diet. Eliminating gluten from the diet can be challenging at first because wheat and ingredients derived from wheat are used in practically every kind of processed food. For example, wheat flour is sometimes used in soup powder to make it thicker and there are some commercial sauces that contain wheat-based vegetable gum.
At first, you may need to read the labels on everything you purchase to ensure that it is safe for you to eat. Make an appointment with a dietician who can help educate you on the key words that signal a gluten ingredient.
Bear in mind that "gluten-free" is not synonymous with "healthy." Lots of food manufacturers have jumped on the "gluten-free" bandwagon and some add extra sugar and fat to simulate the texture of gluten. Substitutes for wheat include rice flour, soy flour, corn flour and arrowroot starch.
Even if you are not allergic to gluten, eliminating grains from your diet can benefit your health and help you maintain a healthy weight. Spring and summer are the perfect seasons to go gluten-free because fresh fruits and vegetables offer so many delicious, nutritious options. Visit your local farmers market and fill up your basket with the best that Mother Nature has to offer. Opt for organically grown produce. Eliminate gluten from your diet for a couple of weeks and you may be amazed by how much better you look and feel.
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