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Gluten-free Diet—An Overview

gluten free productsGluten is a protein that is found in some grains including wheat (graham, kamut, semolina, spelt and durum), rye, malts, barley and triticale. It is also extracted from the grains and used under the names dextrine, dextrose and maltodextrine as a flavoring, thickening or stabilizing agent in processed food. Sensitivity to gluten is considered a genetically inherited condition. If other members of you family have gluten sensitivity, it may be wise to consult a doctor about yourself. Many people are unaware that they would have better health on a gluten free diet.

For some people, when gluten comes in contact with the lining of their small intestine it causes injury which results in bloating, gas, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, weight loss and mineral and vitamin deficiencies. This is called celiac disease and a gluten-free diet is the only treatment that is medically accepted for celiac. It is also the only treatment for an allergy to wheat as well as another condition, dermatitis herpetiformis that is related to celiac disease. When gluten is eliminated from the diet, the symptoms in the small intestine will stop in all but the most severe cases.

To function well, the intestines need prebotics that are contained in wheat and other grains. They nourish the good bacteria that lives in the intestine that feed on the oligofructose and inulin contained in these grains. A person who needs to avoid gluten needs to eat a larger amount of other foods that contain the prebotics as well as take a prebiotic supplement.

gluten freeFor those who need to follow a gluten-free diet, it may be frustrating in the beginning to learn what foods are safe. It also may seem like your diet is very limited and lacking in variety and flavor. However, with the help of in a short time you will learn easy ways to make tasty and interesting food and how to buy prepared food that is gluten-free.

At you will find recommended doctors, guidelines for diagnosis, help for beginners, a newsletter for current information and new products. There are online gluten free support groups, FAQs, recipes and information on celiac disease.

There are many foods that you are already eating that are gluten-free. Potato, brown and white rice, corn, peas, beans, soybeans, arrowroot, tapioca, popcorn and yams are just a few. There are gluten-free breakfast cereal grains such as cream of rice, hominy and corn meal that are popular for everyone. Hard cheeses such as cheddar, Edam, Swiss and Parmesan are gluten-free. The ingredients in cream cheese, cottage cheese and pasteurized processed cheeses should be checked for vegetable gum, food starch and some preservatives that are not gluten-free, but there are gluten free varieties.

There are vitamin and mineral deficiencies that are linked to a gluten-free diet. Specifically, a person may have lower amounts of iron, folate and fiber than when eating other foods. Some gluten-free diets do not meet the recommended daily intake of thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, fiber, or calcium. Eating gluten-free oats for breakfast, high fiber brown rice for lunch and quinoa as a side dish at dinner will significantly improve your iron, protein, calcium and fiber intake. It will also help with the B vitamins.

Vitamin and mineral food supplements are a good way to avoid any deficiencies and will help heal the intestines. Fish oil (omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids) will heal the inflammation in the intestines. Lactobacillus casei GG is also recommended to help break down food and protect the gastrointestinal tract from viral and bacteria infection.

Gradually, you can introduce new gluten-free foods into your diet according to your condition and tastes, so you will have a good variety and a healthy diet. If gluten has been the cause of your ill health, with a gluten-free diet you can look forward to:

  • Feeling healthier with general wellbeing
  • More energy
  • Enjoying meals
  • Celiac disease symptoms under control
  • No more diarrhea and bloating
  • Dermatitis herpetiformis symptoms under control
  • No more burning, stinging, itchy skin