Chances are, you've heard of gluten-free recipes and foods. But just what exactly is gluten? Your neighbor has "gluten issues," or you've read about celebrities who've touted a gluten-free diet as a detox miracle. For many people, foods with gluten can lead to severe digestive issues and, over time, serious conditions like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and intestinal cancers. But while gluten -- a protein found in common grains such as wheat, barley, and rye -- has been a hot health topic, it's much more than just a fad. Here's what you need to know.
A gluten-free diet is a diet that excludes the protein gluten. Gluten is found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye and triticale (a cross between wheat and rye). A gluten-free diet is used to treat celiac disease. Gluten causes inflammation in the small intestines of people with celiac disease. Eating a gluten-free diet helps people with celiac disease control their signs and symptoms and prevent complications.
In the past decade, many people have switched over to a gluten free diet. They go all out to ensure that the food they eat does not contain gluten. You may see a lot of gluten free packaged foods at grocery stores.
Although many people prefer a gluten free diet, they really don’t understand the health benefits of a gluten free diet. Initially, following a gluten-free diet may be frustrating. But with time, patience and creativity, you'll find there are many foods that you already eat that are gluten-free and you will find substitutes for gluten-containing foods that you can enjoy.
Many grain varieties are gluten free. Potatoes, rice, and corn are considered to be excellent foods considering they have no traces of gluten. Beans such as soybean are an excellent source of protein. So you can use these beans as a source of protein in foods that are gluten free. Even nut flours can be used to enhance the protein content of your food without the presence of gluten in it.
Wheat flour should be completely avoided as it contains high concentrations of gluten. Almond flour can be used in lieu of wheat flour. Even buckwheat flour is in this league of wheat flour alternatives. If you explore more, you’d be surprised that there are many types of flours that are gluten free. For instance, gram flour does not contain any traces of gluten. And gram flour has many applications in the food space.
To be truly gluten free, just avoiding foods that contain gluten is not enough. Some over the counter medication may have gluten in them. Even some vitamin supplements have gluten in them. You are advised to refrain from using cosmetics that contain gluten. There are certain types of lipsticks that use a high concentration of gluten.
Before buying a lip balm product check if it contains gluten. Cosmetics generally display the presence or absence of this substance on their packaging covers. Certain face creams and lotions also contain gluten on account of gluten’s thickening properties.
Gluten comes in various forms, manifestations and combinations. Initially it could be tough staying away from it. But eventually you will learn where it can be found and where it cannot be found. And this is your way to begin a lifestyle that is gluten free.