Gluten is a family or group of various proteins which are typically found in rye, wheat, and barley. Gluten is used to add texture, and also to thicken, enhance flavor, bind, and provide a protein additive.
Where Is Gluten Used?
Gluten is generally used in different food products like baked goods. Aside from making bread rise, gluten adds the chewiness which many people are accustomed to. If you love bread, you can comment that bread will never be the same if gluten is not in it.
Gluten can also be in soup mixes, sauces, ketchup, gravies, etc., as a thickener. And since gluten also enhances flavor, it is used to give more good taste to certain dairy products, spice mixtures, coffee, soy sauce, beer, among others.
As an additive, it contributes protein to particular food products which contain low levels of protein or none at all. It is also found in various cosmetics, lotions, medicines, shampoos, and vitamin supplements.
Is Gluten Good for Everyone?
Despite gluten’s advantages, it is not good for everybody because there are individuals who cannot tolerate it (thus the term gluten intolerance), and it gives very bad effects on people with celiac disease which is the worst form of gluten intolerance, and gluten allergy which is a milder form.
Celiac disease is actually an inherited digestive problem that destroys the small intestines and hinders nutrient absorption from food items. Gluten triggers this disease and can cause damage.
What Is Gluten Allergy?
Gluten allergy is a milder negative reaction to gluten consumption, and is usually similar to celiac disease in many ways, most specifically the symptoms.
Gluten Allergy Symptoms?
Gluten allergy symptoms can be mental and/or physical in nature, and these include mouth ulcers, skin problems, anemia, fatigue, vomiting, headaches, osteoporosis, weight loss, constipation, loose bowel movements, breathing difficulties, irritability, discomfort, abdominal pain, depression, asthma, bloating of the abdomen, among others.
Symptoms vary among those with gluten allergy, and sometimes there is not even one symptom manifested. If you know that you are allergic to gluten, it is best to avoid gluten totally, just like those who have celiac disease whose small intestines are inflamed from, or damaged by, even the slightest gluten ingestion. Hence, you should ideally follow a gluten-free diet all the time, and this is considered as the best treatment.
Advantage of a Gluten-free Diet
Completely eliminating any gluten in your daily diet will free you from the bad effects of your gluten allergy. Although many complain because of the limited choices, you should not feel bad; there are many other delicious food varieties that do not have gluten, such as rice, corn, tapioca, fresh vegetables and fruits, unprocessed eggs. But since a gluten-free diet can deprive you of certain vitamins and nutrients, you should take vitamin supplements (make sure these are gluten-free, too).
A Final Word on Gluten Allergy Symptoms
If you have gluten allergy and you have accidentally (or intentionally) eaten something laden with gluten, you should seek medical assistance immediately.