If you say "G" for Gluten, it won't be an exaggeration. Everything has Gluten, from the bread or pasta you eat to the cosmetics you use. At the present time, there has been a massive buzz regarding avoiding Gluten. But, before going with the flow, have you ever known what Gluten is?

What is Gluten?

Gluten is nothing but a naturally occurring protein found in wheat plants, grains, etc. Gluten works as the binding ingredient to give processed food a good shape. Along with wheat, Gluten can also be derived from barley, rye, and processed oats. Generally, oats have no gluten in them. Nevertheless, when they are processed, Gluten is added to the grain for binding.

What is Gluten-free food?

Some people do not like to have Gluten for several reasons. It can be for fitness, gluten intolerance, irregular bowel movement, and more. Therefore, when a food item or an entire diet plan is called gluten-free, you are eating whole food that does not have Gluten. For example, fruit, meat, vegetables, and egg, are naturally gluten-free. In addition, there are processed slices of bread and pasta, which are free from Gluten.

How does Gluten work in your body?

The human body has several enzymes that help digestion by breaking down food. For example, the enzyme, Protease, helps process protein in your body, but it fails to break Gluten. In most cases, people consume Gluten and easily digest them. If you have undigested Gluten in your body, it makes its way through the small intestine. But few people find it challenging to digest Gluten. Gluten may trigger an autoimmune response in the body and start showing unpleasant symptoms.
The human body's autoimmune response toward Gluten is named celiac disease. This disease can be harmful to the small intestine. Celiac disease is not the only hazard caused by Gluten. For some gluten intolerant people, eating food items containing Gluten can cause diarrhoea, skin rashes, bloating and more. People with weak intestines may experience inflammation as undigested Gluten enters the lining.

Should you have gluten-free foods or not?

There are several confusions regarding whether Gluten is good or bad for people. First, you need to understand that humans consume Gluten since they have bread. When you are healthy and have no issue dealing with this protein, you can go for wheat products. Gluten is not an inherently evil food that is bad for everybody. It has been ages when the gluten foods have provided nutrients, protein, and soluble fibre. Wheat grains are the sole ingredient for snack crackers, chips and other snacks. Generally, it is often told to be gluten-free, but these products contain starch and white rice. Some people have started adopting a gluten-free diet and still keep eating processed food items. This causes weight gain, sudden rise in blood sugar, and health issues. So, the problem here is not the Gluten but the excess amount of sodium, carbohydrate, oil and sugar.

People who might have problems with Gluten

As previously mentioned, Gluten may not be suitable for all. Some of unfavorable conditions for gluten intake are as follows:
•    If you are someone who has Celiac disease, you must avoid Gluten to take care of the small intestines.
•    When you have Gluten intolerance or Non-celiac gluten sensitivity, it refers to gastrointestinal irritation in people with celiac disease.
•    Gluten ataxia is an autoimmune disorder that causes different issues in your body due to gluten intake.

Detailed descriptions of some gluten free food items

The whole grains mostly come with Gluten, but a few can be gluten-free. It is essential to read the food labels whenever you are in the store.
Grains: The gluten-free whole grains include quinoa, millet, oats (gluten-free on the pack), brown rice, teff, buckwheat and more. Try to omit wheat in all possible varieties, including cereals and bread.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are always gluten-free. Some fruits and vegetables that you can eat when you have a gluten-free diet are mentioned here. Fruits that you can enjoy include apples, peaches, citrus fruits, pears, etc. The list of vegetables includes bell peppers, green beans, carrots, mushrooms, onions, broccoli, spinach, squash, cauliflower, potatoes and more. You should avoid the few fruits and vegetables: processed and canned vegetables, dried fruits, frozen vegetables and fruits, pre-chopped vegetables, etc.
Oils and fats: Most of the oils and fats are generally gluten-free. The list includes butter, ghee, coconut oil, vegetable oil, sunflower oil, avocado oil, sesame oil, etc.
Beverages: There are various gluten-free beverages that you can easily consume when you are looking for gluten-free drinks. For example, fresh fruit juice, water, tea, coffee, lemonade, soda, and energy drinks are gluten-free. However, try to avoid distilled liquors, pre-made smoothies, beers, and flavored beverages as they contain a good amount of Gluten.
Sauces and spices: Among spices and sauces are white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and raw spices that are gluten-free. But the sauces, mayonnaise, kinds of ketchup, salad dressings, barbecue sauce, pre-made gravy mixes, canned pickles, and dried spices need double-checking before consumption.
Meat and dairy items: Raw meat and dairy products generally do not have Gluten in them. But canned meat, processed cheese products, ice cream, frozen meat, salami, sausages, and other processed meats have gluten. Gluten-free dairy products you can consume include milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, sour cream etc. If you are a non-vegetarian, and trying to eat healthy gluten-free food for fitness, have fresh meat, eggs, fish, nuts, seafood, and soy foods without a second thought.

Whether going gluten-free is your healthy choice or you are allergic to gluten, you won’t have to depend on homemade food alone. The good news is that if you are in the USA, you can have access to many gluten-free restaurants around you. In New York, Chicago, Portland, Utah, Texas, Pennsylvania, and almost every state, you will find many options for lip-smacking gluten-free foods at pocket-friendly prices. These Gluten-free restaurants are no less than a blessing for the healthy food lovers.

Note: The article is meant for general awareness of the readers. The information can’t be used as a substitute to a medical prescription or diagnosis by a medical professional. If you are thinking of adopting some dietary changes or supplementation do consult your doctor, as it could bring unexpectedly serious outcomes to some people.

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 Gluten-free foods

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