6 Things You Need to Know About Gluten

It is good to understand what gluten is and how it affects your body before making any decisions to cut it out completely. Below are six things you should take into consideration before eliminating gluten from your diet.

Did you know that gluten is a type of protein?

wheat bread; whole grains

Gluten helps wheat products keep their form.

Eating a gluten-free diet has been linked to an improved quality of health for those with a gluten sensitivity or who have celiac disease.

Also, a gluten-free diet is becoming more and more popular. There has been an increase of gluten-free alternatives to conventional bread, pasta, cookies and other popular foods.

It is good to understand what gluten is and how it affects your body before making any decisions to cut it completely from your diet.

Below are six things you should take into consideration before eliminating gluten from your daily diet.

1. Gluten Could Increase Your Chances of ADHD If You Have Celiac Disease

There is scientific research of celiac disease and ADHD going hand in hand. The association between the two is fairly strong with children and adults. They have a higher risk of having ADHD compared to the general public.

In this study, there were 67 participants with ADHD and 15% of them were found to have celiac disease. This rate is higher than the general public which is at 1%.

Once these participants started a gluten-free diet, they reported having a dramatic change in their behavior and mood.

*Side Note: It is important to note that not all scientific studies came to this conclusion, but the findings remain to be a good backbone for future research.

2. Gluten Can Cause Body Discomfort

Eating gluten can contribute to skin diseases such as eczema, leg or arm numbness, joint pain, anemia, abdominal pain, and bloating – according to Healthline.

People who suffer from those body discomforts have often gone years without being diagnosed with gluten sensitivity by a medical professional. After eliminating gluten from their diet, they claim to experience an improvement in their overall health and well-being.

It’s rather simple – if you eliminate the cause then you will eliminate the effects.

3. We All Have Some Gluten Sensitivity

We all have a sensitivity to gluten to a certain extent.

.05-13% of the population has a gluten sensitivity.

Though you may never be diagnosed with celiac disease, you may still be gluten intolerant and can experience body discomfort in the forms of diarrhea, constipation, headaches, joint pains, muscle fatigue, weight gain, depression, anxiety, and other unpleasant reactions as your body struggles to process the gluten you eat.

If you experience those symptoms when eating gluten-containing food, it may be a good idea to eliminate gluten from your everyday eating habits to help reduce any body discomfort.

4. Gluten Can Affect Our Brain

Gluten affects the brain more than any other part of the body.

People who suffer from celiac disease or are gluten intolerant often report an array of symptoms from migraines, insomnia, and brain fog (feeling less effective).

Gluten can also cause neuropathy (a tingling sensation in your feet and fingers), epilepsy (seizures), and vertigo (dizziness).

There are some indications that gluten can cause Alzheimer’s disease and bipolar disorder, according to Very Well Health.

If you suffer from any of these neurological conditions – it is recommended for you to reduce your gluten intake or take it out of your diet completely. You will most likely experience relief from the majority if not all of their symptoms.

5. Be Wary of Gluten-Free Labels

If you do decide to make the switch to a gluten-free diet, be aware of food products flashing a “gluten-free” label.

The Celiac Disease Foundation shares their top tips as to what look to for when you are shopping for gluten-free food.

  • Be sure that it says it’s FDA approved on the box. The FDA will only allow packaged foods to have less than 20 pmm of gluten in order to be considered “gluten-free”.
  • Still check the ingredients for wheat, barley, rye, malt, and brewer’s yeast.
  • Avoid wheat-free products because it doesn’t mean that it is gluten-free.
  • Always check the allergen listing on the label. It can help you quickly know if the product contains wheat.
  • Check the ingredient list for hidden gluten ingredients.
  • Remember barley and rye are not one of the top 8 allergens so pay special attention for those ingredients.
  • Keep those tips in mind when you are out on your next grocery run.

6. There Are Plenty of Gluten-Free Grain Options

Did you know that there are more gluten-free grains than grains that contain gluten?

The problem is that the average western diet doesn’t include most of them.

Most Americans are unaware of the rich variety of nutritious gluten-free grains.

Quinoa, amaranth, rice, buckwheat, teff, sorghum, and oats are some gluten-free grain options that you can add to your diet.

Now that you’re familiar with gluten and its effects on the body, it may be a good time to learn more about the types of foods and cooking techniques you can work with to prepare healthy, gluten-free meals for your family.

Also, consult with a medical professional to see if you or a member in your family are gluten sensitive or have celiac disease.

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