Seeing the label "gluten-free" on various food products could make you think that it's just another fancy diet. It may sometimes be the case, but for some people, avoiding gluten is a matter of keeping their bodies healthy.
What is gluten?
Gluten is basically a mixture of proteins found in specific grains. It is responsible for the elasticity of these grains, and it is known to "glue" the dough together. Typically, the grains that contain these proteins include wheat, barley, and rye. Oats, on the other hand, do not actually have gluten, but they are often contaminated.
You might now be wondering if wheat and whole grains are still good for you because they are supposed to be, right?
Well, gluten is mainly damaging to the gastrointestinal tract of those who have been diagnosed with celiac disease.
What is celiac disease?
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease marked by symptoms in different body systems. It is a serious condition that's often overlooked, and since its symptoms are multi-systemic, it can also be difficult to diagnose.
Some of the symptoms of this disease are:
- digestive issues
- skin issues
- brain fog
- fatigue and weakness
- depression or anxiety
- respiratory problems
- vitamin and mineral deficiencies
- other autoimmune disorders
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it's best to seek the expertise of a physician and have it confirmed if you have celiac disease.
What is non-celiac gluten sensitivity?
There are also others who suffer from similar symptoms but don't necessarily have celiac disease. Their condition cannot be diagnosed through blood test or endoscopy, so it is referred to as non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
It is important to note that signs indicating non-celiac gluten sensitivity may or may not be related to digestive problems. Check yourself for the symptoms below; if you are experiencing any of them and you have confirmed that you do not have celiac disease, there is a possibility that you are sensitive to gluten.
- diarrhea or mucus in the stool
- abdominal discomfort, pain, or bloating
- brain fog
- unexplained fatigue
- balance issues
- skin issues (such as eczema)
- numbness in extremities
If you think that you're sensitive to gluten, you might want to cut any food with gluten from your diet and reintroduce wheat after 30 days. Observe how you feel during the 30-day period and notice if there is a difference in your digestion, energy, etc.
When reintroducing gluten, make sure to have only one serving no more than twice a day. After four days, see if you feel any negative symptoms. If you do, it is recommended that you avoid wheat and other glutinous grains.