All You Need to Know About Gluten
What is gluten and how can you determine what foods have it and what foods don’t have it?
If you read a lot of labels on food in the grocery store, then you are bound to see some items as gluten-free. In fact, you may know people who do not consume gluten or cannot eat it. Maybe you are one of the people who can’t eat gluten either. What is gluten and how can you determine what foods have it and what foods don’t have it?
What Does Gluten Do to Your Body?
First thing to know about gluten is that gluten is natural. Wheat, rye and barley all contain gluten. It is a stretchy protein that binds the food together. Think about it in terms of dough. If you are baking, you need the dough to be able to stretch out. If it cannot stretch out, it will rip. When it comes to eating gluten, there are no long-term health risks. In fact, in many cases, consuming whole grains can benefit health. There is some evidence that it can even feed the good bacteria in your body.
However, this does not mean that gluten is good for all people. There are some people who react poorly to gluten. If someone has celiac disease, he or she cannot eat gluten at all. This is an autoimmune disorder where the body thinks that gluten is a toxin. When the body detects toxins, it has to find a way to get it out of the body. So, when these individuals consume gluten, they experience fatigue, intestinal damage, weight loss, bloating and diarrhea and constipation. Others who may react to gluten are those with a gluten sensitivity or a wheat allergy.
What Are Some Gluten Free Foods?
Gluten is in a lot of foods that you eat. So, when someone has to go gluten-free, it may feel restrictive. A lot of foods may include gluten that you never would have guessed. However, this does not change that there are a lot of natural gluten-free foods. These are foods that anyone who has a gluten allergy can safely consume. Some of these safe foods include the following:
There are even some grains that do not have any gluten. A person with a gluten allergy can still eat, rice, corn, soy, potatoes, quinoa and more. As a bonus, many different products would normally contain gluten that no longer does. Most grocery stores have an entire section dedicated to gluten-free options! In reality, you do not have to give up the foods that you love, as long as you can read the label beforehand.
What Foods Have Gluten?
Knowing what foods a person can eat is important, but knowing what to avoid is also important. Gluten can be found in a lot of soups and sauces, cereal and even oats. Sometimes frozen fruits or vegetables might contain gluten. This is why it is important to read the label! A lot of cereals, for instance, contain gluten or wheat-based ingredients.
Is oatmeal gluten free? With oats, oats do not naturally contain gluten. The reason that some oats may have gluten is that they are harvested with the same equipment used for wheat. For most people with an allergy, oats are completely safe in moderation. As with all products, it is important to read the label ahead of time.
For those without any conditions that restrict them from eating gluten, gluten can be a part of a healthy diet. There is little reason to avoid foods that have it. However, when someone has celiac disease, an insensitivity or any other conditions that make it difficult to digest gluten, he or she should avoid it. Fortunately, it is not difficult to completely avoid gluten if you have to. There are a lot of naturally occurring products that do not have any gluten in them. Likewise, there are a lot of products that used to be made with gluten that now have gluten-free options to choose from.