Gluten is a composite protein that is found in grain, wheat, rye, and barley. It is also the main ingredient in many cosmetic products. When used as a food additive, gluten gives elasticity to dough and helps it retain its shape until the product is sold to a consumer. Gluten is also responsible for giving many foods a chewy texture. Food manufacturers add gluten to low-protein foods to increase nutritional value.
Unfortunately, many people can’t digest gluten without becoming ill. Sometimes people suffer from chronic conditions for a long time before figuring out that gluten is the cause of their misery. According to Web M.D., the following conditions are caused or worsened by the consumption of gluten:
- Abdominal pain
- Frequent illnesses such as colds and flu
- Headaches and migraines
- Joint pain
- Low bone density
- Mental fogginess
- Muscle aches
This is only a short list of ailments related to gluten. It can affect any area of the body, including the mind, digestive system, reproductive organs, respiratory system, and skin. If you have tried everything and still feel sick much of the time, consider going gluten-free.
How to Get Started
Eating gluten-free can seem completely overwhelming at first. Try to remain positive and remember that any change you make is likely to benefit your health. Start by buying vegetables, plain meats, fish, poultry, nuts, rice, and fruit, and work them into your everyday diet. Be sure to check the labels on your foods, or better yet, purchase your food from companies known to produce gluten-free food.
When you eat out, ask the server if the restaurant has a gluten-free menu. As awareness of the risks of gluten grows, more restaurants are offering a separate gluten-free menu. Also, be sure to seek support from others who understand and support your desire for a gluten-free lifestyle.
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