Gluten Intolerance, or gluten sensitivity, creates a wide range of problems in as many as 15% of the United States population. With over 55 diseases being linked to the protein found in gluten, eliminating certain foods from your diet can help the symptoms of these diseases disappear. This gluten protein is the sticky substance that holds food together and is found in many foods in the American diet. Many people with this sensitivity have symptoms including diarrhea, constipation, headaches, skin rashes, and joint pain. Gluten intolerance is caused by consuming foods with this protein such as wheat, barley, and rye.
The Effects of Gluten Intolerance
Gluten intolerance can affect people in many different ways. Symptoms of gluten intolerance may include:
Digestive problems including bloating, constipation, gas, and diarrhea.
Keratosis Pilaris, a skin rash that results as a lack of vitamin A and fatty acids.
Migraines, dizziness, and feeling off balance
Anxiety and Depression
How to Test for Gluten Intolerance
One of the best way to test for gluten sensitivity is to complete an elimination diet. Start by removing all gluten from your diet for two to three weeks and see if your gluten allergy symptoms go away. Slowly begin to reintroduce foods with gluten and see if the symptoms come back. This is called the gluten challenge. Doctors can run tests during this process to see if the blood antibodies related with this sensitivity are present.
Ways to Prevent Gluten Intolerance
One way to prevent gluten intolerance is to follow a gluten free diet. This means eliminating gluten 100%. A gluten free foods list includes beans, fresh eggs, fresh meats, fresh vegetables, and grains not including gluten; these may include rice, quinoa, corn and cornmeal. When eliminating gluten foods stay away from barley, wheat, rye, and wheat flour. Finding foods that are gluten free can be tricky so always look for the labels that say “gluten free”. In addition to avoiding foods with gluten, keeping these symptoms away also includes making sure your diet has nutrients that may be lost due to lack of grains. Iron, calcium, fiber, folate, and niacin are a few nutrients that will aid in keeping your symptoms low and help maintain an overall healthy lifestyle.