Beat it

Beat it

The case for eating a gluten-free diet

By Laurie Edwards-Tate, Communities Digital News

SAN DIEGO, December 2, 2014 — Gluten intolerance affects millions of people worldwide.
It is caused by consuming any product containing wheat, barley, rye or triticale.
Wheat additives also contain gluten and are commonly found in fresh and frozen foods, soups, breads, pastries, desserts, beverages, vitamins and medications.
There are two primary and more common forms of gluten intolerance–celiac disease and non-celiac gluten intolerance.
Considered an autoimmune disease, celiac disease attacks the small intestines in response to the consumption of gluten.
Celiac disease is also considered the most common genetic disease affecting populations worldwide.
Approximately 1% of Americans have been diagnosed with celiac disease, and it is believed that many more who suffer go undiagnosed, according to the Gluten Free Network.
Further, they believe that both celiac disease and non-celiac gluten intolerance affects approximately 15% of the U.S. population.
A negative physical reaction to the consumption of gluten-containing products is due to the inability of the body to properly digest it.

Photo courtesy of Kevin Lallier/flickr
Whether gluten sensitivity is diagnosed as celiac disease or non-celiac gluten intolerance, the Gluten Free Network provides the following known reactions indicative of gluten intolerance:

Gastrointestinal symptoms

-Stomach pain
-Acid reflux (GERD)
-Irritable bowel (IBS)

The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness believes that gluten intolerance might play a plausible role in causing the following non-gastrointestinal disorders:

-Autoimmune diseases
-Muscle pain
-Mood disorders
-Mental illness
-Respiratory illness
-Skin disorders

A recent UCLA study released a report which indicated the prevalence of gluten intolerance and the presence of dementia in many of their research subjects.
If there is any suspicion that any type of gluten intolerance exists, immediately consult a medical professional for evaluation and assistance.
Ensuring an accurate diagnosis of either celiac disease or non-celiac gluten intolerance is key to resolving symptoms and undergoing proper treatment.
It then becomes necessary to completely avoid any wheat, wheat products, rye, barley or triticale contained in foods and food products.
The Mayo Clinic provides a list of the following foods which are acceptable and healthy for those with gluten intolerance:

Allowed foods:

-Unprocessed seeds and nuts
-Meats (no breading, batter nor marinade)
-Fruits and vegetables
-Most dairy products

Acceptable unprocessed grains and starches:

-Corn and cornmeal

There are also a variety of foods, breads, pastries and beverages to choose from which are labeled as gluten free and are now available at most grocers and whole foods markets.
While shopping for foods and food products always remember to thoroughly read all product labels before purchasing to ensure that they do not contain any form of gluten.
For the millions who suffer from celiac disease or non-celiac gluten intolerance, eliminating the consumption of any form of gluten will help to slow a disease process, reverse it altogether, or lead to a heightened level of well-being–a life-long commitment is a small price to be paid for ensuring the gift of good health.
Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!
Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, is a health care provider of over 30 years. As a featured “Communities Digital News” columnist, LifeCycles with Laurie Edwards-Tate emphasizes healthy aging and maintaining independence, while delighting and informing its readers. Laurie is a recognized expert in home and community-based, long-term care services, and is also an educator.
In addition to writing for “Communities Digital News,” Laurie is the President and CEO of her firm, At Your Home Familycare, which serves persons of all ages who are disabled and infirm with a variety of non-medical, in-home care and concierge services.
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