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Is Gluten Dangerous?

By Amy Silva

Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat as well as barley and rye. It can be found in a multitude of products, not just obvious foods made with grains such as cereal and bread. Gluten is even used when making some products such as dietary supplements.

Should Gluten Be Avoided?

Unless one has celiac disease or a mild gluten sensitivity there is no reason to avoid gluten. Those who experience mild symptoms but do not have celiac disease might choose not to purchase products that contain gluten to avoid stomach discomfort but it's not necessary to follow this way of eating unless required. Many people are spending more money unnecessarily on products with gluten-free labels because they are under the impression they are healthier or simply because they're following a diet trend, but there is no benefit to doing this. In fact, consuming only gluten-free products often leaves many people deficient in vitamins and fiber their body needs.

Symptoms of mild gluten sensitivity include:

  • Bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Headaches/brain fog

Celiac Disease Symptoms

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes damage to the small intestine when even a small amount of gluten is ingested. It has over 200 known symptoms, and they often differ between kids and adults. Children often have more symptoms with their digestive systems, while most adults who have it experience other symptoms. Children may experience vomiting, issues with their teeth, be deficient in iron, suffer from fatigue, or have issues with their behavior and act out. Adults who suffer from celiac disease may have pain in their bones, migraines, skin rash, bone loss, depression and even infertility.

What to Look Out for

For those with a gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, it's not as simple as just avoiding wheat, rye and barley in their original form. Many foods are made using these as ingredients so sufferers must be very careful to read the ingredients to be sure they are gluten-free. Some foods include:

  • Couscous
  • Chicken broth
  • Condiments
  • Salad dressing
  • Oats
  • Semolina

Foods That Are Safe

This list is not inclusive but gives an idea of how many natural foods won't cause issues for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities.

  • Quinoa
  • Rice
  • Meat and seafood
  • Nuts
  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Dairy

If you have stomach discomfort or other mild symptoms to gluten, or if you have celiac disease, always read labels to be sure you're only purchasing and consuming products that are safe for you. If you do not have either issue, save your money and don't fall for the hype of following a gluten-free diet unnecessarily.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Irvine, Calif.

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