What is gluten?A family of proteins commonly found in grains like wheat, barley, rye, and spelt is known as gluten. Of these, it is wheat that is most consumed and hence, one would typically avoid it in a gluten-free diet. We are talking about no roti or bread, here. When you mix flour with water, it is the gluten proteins you thank for making the dough elastic. It also helps bread rise when baked. It is not without reason that gluten is called so, it gets its name from the glue-like texture it offers with wet dough. The two primary proteins in gluten are gliadin and glutenin of which the former causes the most harm to the body if a person is sensitive to it. Otherwise, it remains relatively safe and healthy for consumption. Gluten is primarily found in the following items:
- Breaded meat and seafood
- Cakes and cookies
What is gluten intolerance?While some can tolerate gluten, many with certain health conditions cannot. Among the most severe forms of gluten intolerance is celiac disease. An autoimmune disorder where the body rejects gluten. The immune system attacks gluten and resultantly, the gut lining. A damaged gut lining leads to several other complications that include the obvious digestive problems, diarrhoea, headache, constipation, lethargy, depression, skin rashes among others. Notably, certain symptoms of celiac disease that are not related to digestive issues are difficult to diagnose and hence, a lot of people with the condition aren’t even aware of it. There are also those who might not be affected by celiac disease and still be gluten intolerant. Such a condition is known as non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
Symptoms of gluten intoleranceWhile digestive issues are the most common symptoms associated with gluten intolerance, there are several others ranging from skin rashes to mood disturbances. Here’s a look at some of them:
- Digestive problems like abdominal pain, diarrhoea, constipation, heartburn. These could further lead to malnutritional effects like weight loss, lethargy, etc.
- Skin issues like redness, rashes, bumps, itching, etc.
- Depression, migraines and lack of concentration
- Frequent mood swings
- Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
TreatmentOften, it is a gluten-free diet that is the most effective solution. However, other symptomatic effects like skin rashes, and migraines, among others, need to be treated accordingly by a doctor. Here is a list of foods you can include in your diet keeping it gluten-free:
- Gluten-free pasta
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Meat and seafood (not breaded)
- Unflavoured dairy products