Saturday, November 27

Gluten-free diet: how to practice it and its benefits

A gluten-free diet implies exclude foods that contain gluten protein, including wheat, rye, and barley. In recent years, gluten-free diets have been positioned as a good alternative for people with celiac disease or those with gluten sensitivity. In any scenario, the main treatment is based on completely avoiding the consumption of foods that contain gluten, although there are many cereals that naturally contain it; it is also found in many processed foods.

First things first: What is gluten? Gluten is a family of proteins found in wheat, barley, rye, and spelled. Its name comes from the Latin word for “glue,” as it gives flour a sticky consistency when mixed with water. In fact, gluten is responsible for giving bread the ability to rise up when baked, as well as giving it a satisfying, chewy texture. While most people are normally tolerant of gluten, there are some cases where complications occur after eating foods that contain it. The most serious reaction is called celiac disease, it is an autoimmune disorder in which the body damages itself by mistake. Celiac disease affects up to 1% of the population and gluten sensitivity can affect between 0.5 and 13% of the population. In general, both conditions present with quite debilitating symptoms that tend to worsen: damage to the intestines, constant diarrhea, constipation, excessive inflammation, stomach pain, unexplained weight loss, anemia, excessive fatigue, depression, nausea and vomiting.

Although there are various medical tests that help diagnose celiac disease or gluten intolerance; It has been proven that the best way to know is to avoid eating foods that contain gluten in any form. If the symptoms stop, the answer is clear. Based on this, we undertook the task of compiling the essential dietary measures to follow a gluten-free diet.

How to carry out a gluten-free diet?

Following a gluten-free diet has only one important principle: be clear about the foods that simply should be avoided. While it sounds easy, the reality is that avoiding gluten altogether is often challenging, and the main reason is that it is found in many common ingredients that are added to foods of any kind. These are the main sources of gluten in the diet:

– Wheat-based foods such as wheat bran, wheat flour, spelled, durum wheat, kamut, and semolina
– Barley
– Rye
– Triticale
– Malta
– Yeast

The first thing you need to understand is that currently the food industry tends to add gluten to most commercial products. Among the main ones are the following:

– Bread. All wheat-based bread.
– Pasta. All wheat-based pasta.
– Cereals. Unless they are labeled gluten free.
– Baked goods. Cakes, cookies, muffins, pizza, breadcrumbs and pastries.
– Snacks. Candy, muesli bars, crackers, prepackaged ready meals, toasted nuts, potato chips and flavored popcorn, pretzels.
– Sauces. Soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, hoisin sauce, marinades, salad dressings.
– Drinks. Beer, flavored alcoholic beverages.
– Other meals. Couscous, broth (unless labeled gluten-free).

Therefore the simplest and easiest way to Avoiding gluten consumption is through the intake of homemade and unprocessed foods. In the case of other industrial products, it is very important even though they are organic and apparently healthy: always read the labels. Oats are naturally gluten free. However, often due to its processing, it is usually contaminated with gluten, as it can be processed in the same factory as wheat-based foods.

Fortunately, there are wonderful natural food alternatives without gluten and which allow us to enjoy healthy and delicious meals.

– Meat and fish. All meats and fish, except breaded or breaded meats.
– Eggs. All types of eggs are naturally gluten-free.
– Dairy products. Natural dairy products, such as natural milk, natural yogurt, and cheeses. Note: Flavored dairy products may have added ingredients that contain gluten, so you will need to read food labels.
– Fruits and vegetables. All fruits and vegetables are naturally gluten-free.
– Grains Quinoa, rice, buckwheat, tapioca, sorghum, corn, millet, amaranth, arrowroot, teff and oats (if the label does not contain gluten).
– Starches and flours. Potatoes, potato flour, corn, corn flour, chickpea flour, soy flour, almond flour, coconut flour, and tapioca flour.
– Nuts and seeds. All nuts and seeds.
– Spreads and oils. All vegetable oils and butter.
– Herbs and spices. All herbs and spices.
– Drinks. Most drinks, except beer (unless they are labeled gluten-free).

Although, following a gluten-free diet is the main treatment for people with celiac disease and certain intolerances. Also, it has positioned itself as a good method to improve general health. It is related to qualities to improve energy levels, digestion, intestinal health, reduce joint pain, promote weight loss, reduce lactose intolerance and combat headaches.

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