What is Gluten?
By Dr. April Modesti
By now, you’ve probably noticed a flurry of new labels on packaging in grocery stores. GLUTEN FREE! So, what is gluten and why would you want to exclude it from your diet?
Gluten is a protein found in certain grains, responsible for giving them their elastic, chewy texture. In addition to wheat, gluten is in rye, barley, and the less-well-known kamut and spelt.
Oats, having a different parent, do not contain gluten. But, because oats are frequently grown or processed with or near wheat products, it is easy for them to become contaminated. Thankfully, oats that are certified gluten-free can now be purchased online and at most health food stores.
For gluten-sensitive individuals, eating gluten will cause an inflammation response in the intestines, and often in other parts of the body. Symptoms may vary from headaches to infertility, thyroid problems, skin irritations, and muscle and joint problems. Importantly, the brain and nerves can also be affected.
One in 100 people has Celiac disease, the classic form of gluten sensitivity which has severe gastrointestinal symptoms. For every gluten sensitive person with gut-related symptoms, there are eight with no gastrointestinal symptoms at all. And, another 10% of the population has the condition in a latent form.
Celiac disease is three times more common in women than in men. Those with relatives diagnosed with gluten sensitivity or an auto- immune disorders are more likely than others to have the condition. It’s important to note that many of the physical problems associated with gluten intolerance take years to develop, existing “under the radar.”
Gluten free eating may be your ticket to better digestive health. Explore the many options that are now readily available in recipe books, grocery stores and bakeries throughout the SF Bay Area.
For more information visit: www.serenitychiro.com
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