Coeliac disease is the most well-known condition related to gluten, however in today’s society more people are starting to recognise that they’re experiencing symptoms of gluten sensitivity when consuming gluten-containing grains. Firstly, Gluten is a protein found in grass seeds such as wheat, barley and rye. Historically these foods have been a staple, but as we advance through todays modern society where food intolerances and sensitivities are more common, more individuals are starting to experience sensitivities to gluten.
Gluten sensitivity is an immune reaction that triggers a response in your intestinal lining. The response causes inflammation and intestinal damage to the gut and means that the body cannot properly absorb nutrients from food. When there is damage to our gut lining, the molecules present in food cross the weakened lining into the bloodstream, resulting in an immune response and inflammation often called “leaky gut” syndrome. Over time this becomes more chronic and leads to more severe symptoms and sensitivities to more food groups. Symptoms of gluten sensitivity often include bloating, pain, diarrhoea, reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, skin rashes such as eczema and acne.
If you have experienced any of these symptoms, a simple gluten-elimination diet can help you find out whether or not you have a gluten sensitivity. Eliminating gluten for 4-6 weeks will give you an indication of how your body responds to no gluten. For many, symptoms may improve or disappear. So, making a switch to a gluten-free whole food diet may be the best thing for you.
Avoiding gluten isn’t as daunting as it sounds there are plenty of foods you can choose to ensure you’re eating a well-balanced diet. Many foods are naturally gluten-free, including fruits and vegetables, legumes, certain whole-grains, dairy products as well as fresh meat, seafood and poultry. The only thing to look out for is the processed already packaged and boxed products such as marinades, sauces, coated/ processed meat and dairy products that may have gluten added so double checking food labels is essential to a successful gluten free diet. When checking food labels, thickeners, malt, and modified food starch are usually gluten-containing ingredients so double check food labels to avoid these.
Gluten Containing Foods:
- Wheat ( whole wheat, bulgur, spelt, durum)
- Soy sauce/ condiments that contain modified food starch, maltodextrin, malt, and wheat flour
- Beer, ales, malt beverages and lagers made from gluten-containing grains
- Oats (unless you find gluten free oats which still may processed/contaminated in the same area as wheat products so with extreme sensitivities, best to avoid all together)
- Coconut Aminos for soy sauce alternative
- Pulse Pasta made from legumes, pulses and vegetables
A simple gluten-elimination diet can help you better understand your body. We hope this guide gives you a quick insight and overview of how to go about it. Take control of your health. We are here to assist.