Gluten is the combination of glutenin and gliadin. It’s found in cereals such as wheat, barley, and rye. Gluten is the structure that forms bread dough and is obtained during the process of washing starch.
Unfortunately, some people’s bodies cannot tolerate this substance. That’s why gluten intolerance is a condition that can put your intestinal health at risk.
What is gluten intolerance and how does it occur?
Gluten intolerance is the abnormal physiological reaction caused by poor digestion of wheat proteins, which causes intestinal disorders.
In some, gluten destroys the villi that adhere to the walls of the lining of the small intestine. This prevents the body processing food. Thus, there’s a chronic inflammation of the intestine that stops nutrients to being absorbed correctly.
How is it diagnosed?
You can diagnose gluten intolerance with the following tests:
- Blood test (after fasting).
- Intestinal biopsy. This test involves the removal of a tissue sample from the upper small intestine.
What are the main symptoms?
- Digestive problems such as diarrhea, inflammation, wind, or constipation.
- Presence of keratosis pilaris (chicken skin) on the back of the arms. This is due to a lack of fatty acids and vitamin A.
- Feeling tired after eating any food containing gluten.
- The development of autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, colitis, or lupus.
- Neurological problems such as dizziness and a loss of balance.
- Irregular hormonal levels.
- Recurrent migraines.
- Pain and swelling in the joints.
- Sudden changes in mood between anxiety, depression, and euphoria.
- Difficulty focusing.
How do you treat gluten intolerance?
To control and avoid the symptoms above, it’s important to stick to a 100% gluten-free diet. Gluten intolerance is not a condition that is not treated with drugs, but with other strategies. By eliminating foods with gluten, the symptoms disappear, so the small intestine can recover from the injury.
This recovery is permanent, but only if gluten is completely removed from your diet.
We should also mention that eating small amounts of gluten can aggravate the symptoms. If you don’t maintain a 100% gluten-free diet, gluten intolerance or celiac disease will become chronic.
After the first two weeks of a balanced diet, symptoms begin to subside. Serological normalisation can take between 6 to 12 months, while recovery of the intestinal villi takes two years after your start the plan or treatment.
However, in the case of infants, the results are slower. Treatment consists in basically removing four grains: wheat, oats, barley and rye, as well as their derivatives.
Which foods contain gluten?
Wheat and flour are quite common ingredients in our diet. Thus, there are several foods that contain gluten that you will need to discard.
If you suffer from gluten intolerance, some of the foods and beverages you should avoid are:
- Bread and cakes
- Fried foods
- Salad dressings
- Meat and seafood substitutes
- Soy sauce
Which foods don’t contain gluten?
- Milk and derivatives such as cheese, cottage cheese, cream and yoghurt.
- All kinds of meat
- Fresh fish and seafood
- Greens, vegetables and root vegetables
- Rice and corn
- Sugar and honey
- Oils and butter
- Orange, lemon and cola soft drinks
- Natural spices
- And many more!
Vitamins for gluten intolerance?
Taking vitamin supplements is essential in cases of gluten intolerance. This is due to the damage done to the lining of the intestine. This causes a decrease in the absorption of iron, calcium and other vitamins.
Furthermore, a large percentage of gluten products contain vitamins and minerals. If these are excluded, your diet will become deficient in nutrients. In order to deal with this, you should visit a specialist who can refer to a gluten-free vitamin product that can provide 100% of your recommended daily intake.
Finally, it’s important to note that gluten intolerance does have a solution. It simply requires a change in diet and lifestyle. However, this does not mean that if you suffer from this condition you have to stop eating in restaurants and isolate yourself.
As long as you stick to the recommendations of a specialist, you won’t have to worry. Take care of your stomach today so that you continue enjoying tomorrow.