Gluten Intolerance:How do you know if you have it?

Gluten Intolerance:How do you know if you have it?

Gluten intolerance may cause diarrhoea, gas, dermatitis, migraine, eczema, swollen lips or pain

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Gluten intolerance

The symptoms of gluten intolerance can range from diarrhoea, gas, dermatitis, migraine, eczema, muscle pain and swollen lips and eyes.

These symptoms result from our body inability to digest proteins found in barley, rye, wheat and sometimes in oats.

         The problem with undigested gluten

The undigested gluten that remains in the intestinal tract, can cause an osmotic reaction on the small intestine, its contents and surrounding tissues.The small intestine’s size may increase than normal. If small intestine size abnormally increases, absorptive cells and the intestinal lumen surface will rub-off each other; can cause damages.

The damage to the absorptive cell will impair the absorption of many essential mineral, vitamins and other nutrients.

           What To Do If You have Gluten Intolerance

Right now, the best way to deal with symptoms of gluten intolerance is to abstain from gluten containing foods. However, maintaining a life-long gluten-free diet can be challenging because.

  1. Gluten-containing foods such as bread, cookies, biscuits, cereal and pasta etc., are the staples and give them up can be tough.
  2. Seemingly ‘safe’ foods may contain gluten. Foods such as salad dressings, desserts, gravies and soups may contain gluten.
  3. Medications,  malted products and food packaging may also contain gluten.

As you can see, you really must be determined and take maximum effort to avoid gluten containing foods.

Therefore, make sure that the food you are buying does not have any ingredients that come or processed with, wheat, barley, or rye. This is important because even small amounts of gluten may cause devastating symptoms in some people.

       How you can confirm if you have Gluten Intolerance

Home testing kits for gluten intolerance are commercially available. However,  you should not self-test because most of these home testing kits require incredible expertise. Inaccurate or erroneous assessment may cause some gluten intolerance’s symptoms that are delayed and continuation of gluten containing food may over time develop into non-responsive gluten intolerance.

Gluten intolerance individuals, therefore should seek counsel from experts(e.g. dietitian)  as well as be up to date with both gluten-containing food and the gluten-free diet.

                       Foods to Replace Gluten foods

You can buy gluten-free products to replace common foods such as bread, pasta, and cereals.  You can, for example, use non-grain flour alternatives such as buckwheat (member of the rhubarb family) to make bread instead of grainy wheat.  These products, sometimes more expensive, but will increase food choices and allow you to enjoy foods that would otherwise be forbidden.  

You should also learn how to prevent cross-contamination from utensils, cutting boards, and toasters during food preparation.

Here are some  listings of the commercially available  gluten-free foods;

  • Soy
  • maize
  • Potato
  • Rice
  • Cassava
  • Arrowroot
  • Amarant
  • Flax
  • Chia
  • Gluten-free oats
  • Nut flours
  • Corn
  • Tapioca
  • Beans
  • Sorghum
  • Quinoa
  • Millet
  • Buckwheat

While most individuals with gluten intolerance should within days see a positive resolution to their symptoms after changing their diet to gluten-free foods, some individuals may not respond to a gluten-free diet. This scenario termed ‘nonresponsive gluten intolerance also known as celiac disease or ( Coeliac disease).

Gluten intolerance other treatments include the use of a  glutenase; an enzymatic supplement that can destroy the immunogenic gluten peptides after a gluten meal.

There are also ongoing studies and strategies to restore tolerance to gluten, such as bioengineering probiotics that can help in the digestion of gluten.

       Oats and Gluten Intolerance

Finally, the role of oats and gluten intolerance or celiac disease is not settled. Many studies opined that oats are generally nontoxic for most individuals with gluten intolerance or celiac disease. There is this concern, however, that contamination of oat products by other gluten sourced foods might be happening during the growing, milling or processing of oat products. Also, some small number of gluten intolerance individuals may still react to gluten protein oats; studies warned.

Therefore, if you have gluten intolerance and you’re not sure if should include oats in your diet, you should seek expert advice.  Even if you’re clear to eat oats, when buying your oats, be aware of food contamination especially in a store where similarly foods are displayed together.

You might want to watch this video for additional information for gluten intolerance.

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