What Is Gluten Protein?
It’s impossible to walk down a grocery store isle and not see labels that boast a “Gluten Free” claim. Most stores have dedicated an entire section to gluten free foods, but is going gluten free good for your health?
What Is Gluten?
Gluten is a protein that’s commonly found in wheat, rye, barley and many other grains. It holds a correlation with carbohydrates because gluten is present in cereal, pizza, bread, and pasta.
What some people don’t know is that gluten offers no essential nutrients. In fact, practicing a gluten-free diet is necessary for some people’s health. Those with celiac disease have an immune reaction that can be triggered by gluten. While it’s estimated only 1% of the population is affected by the condition, it’s necessary to avoid gluten-filled foods to prevent inflammation and other symptoms of the disease.
People who struggle with migraines should also avoid gluten. The protein has been found to spark headaches for some migraine sufferers.
Am I Gluten-Sensitive?
For Americans without celiac disease, the idea of a gluten-free diet is still popular. It’s possible that some have gluten sensitivity and for that reason should avoid foods that contain the protein. Gluten-sensitive symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain or cramps
Gluten sensitivity can be sparked by a wheat allergy. For others, the pain isn’t connected to any specific health condition. Either way, for the sake of being comfortable in your own body, if foods with gluten cause pain, it just makes sense to avoid those options.
Is A Gluten-Free Diet Healthy?
The Consumer Reports National Research Center says 63% of Americans believe that a gluten-free diet could improve their mental or physical health. Those who are gluten free must be careful not to eliminate other nutrients the body needs.
You body needs folate or folic acid, which are often found in the same foods as those that contain gluten. It’s especially important for expecting women or those who may become pregnant. Those women should speak with a doctor to find the right gluten-free multivitamin-multimineral supplement.
Talk with your physician before going gluten free to ensure your body will welcome the change. While the gluten-free craze may be a fad for some, it does offer some legitimate health benefits for those with sensitivity.