Do you feel excessively bloated, have pain in your belly, feel nauseous, or have a headache after you eat certain breads, pastas, baked goods or other foods that contain wheat, barley or rye? If so, you may have a gluten sensitivity, a wheat allergy, or celiac disease.
Gluten is the general name used to describe the proteins that are found in wheat, rye and barley. It has properties that are similar to glue, as it helps foods keep their shape. If you have ever mixed flour with water, for example, you have probably noticed that it turns into a sticky, elastic-like substance. That’s because of the gluten flour contains. Gluten also helps bread rise when it’s baked, and gives it its chewy texture.
The majority of people do not have any issues with gluten; they tolerate it just fine. However, for some people, gluten can cause issues, especially for people who are sensitive to gluten, who have celiac disease, or who are allergic to wheat.
Celiac disease is a disorder of the autoimmune system. In other words, the body sees gluten as a foreign invader, and as such, the immune system reacts by attacking it, along with the lining of the gut. As a result, when someone who has celiac disease eats gluten, the wall of the gut is damaged, which can cause serious digestive issues, nutritional deficiencies, anemia and an increased risk of different types of disease. Celiac disease is the most serious form of gluten sensitivity. People who do not have celiac disease can still experience a negative reaction to gluten, or gluten sensitivity. The cause of gluten sensitivity is unknown, however, the effects are known, which include stomach pain, bloating, fatigue and diarrhea. A wheat allergy isn’t a sensitivity to gluten, but rather an actual allergy. When wheat is consumed, the body produces an antibody to the proteins found in wheat. The side effects of a wheat allergy can be mild and similar to other types of allergies, celiac disease and gluten sensitivity; however, in severe cases, this allergy can cause dangerous, life-threatening side effects.
If you have been diagnosed with any gluten-related condition, or you just feel a little off after you eat foods that contain gluten, you’re going to want to make sure that you steer clear of any products that contain gluten. Fortunately, there are a lot of options to choose from.
Here’s a look at 18 of the most popular gluten free foods available.
Naturally gluten free, apples are an excellent food option if you have an adverse reaction to gluten. A medium apple only has about 95 calories, and it offers a wealth of valuable nutrients, including fiber, vitamin C, potassium, vitamin K, and vitamin B6. In addition to being gluten free, it’s also sodium free, which makes apples a great choice for anyone who wants to keep their health in great condition, especially those who have issues with gluten. Eat an apple right on the core for a snack, or slice one up and spread it with peanut butter (also gluten free.)