Gluten is a glycoprotein that is part of several types of cereals and functions as a binder and emulsifier. It has a structural role, as it keeps the food together, not letting it sifter. It also gives a better texture to food, among other functions.
Gluten is composed of gliadin-glutenin and starch. The main problem with this protein is that its intake is associated with problems in the structure of the intestinal mucosa that cause complications, from simple abdominal discomfort to serious health problems, which greatly complicate the lives of people who are sensitive to it.
What is gluten intolerance?
It is a non-allergic hypersensitivity reaction to some substances present in food groups, caused by non-immune mechanisms . These substances cause imbalances due to the lack or absence of digestive enzymes that break down food.
When people with gluten intolerance eat foods that contain it, they suffer from problems and discomfort, such as:
- Iron deficiency anemia;
- Abdominal distension;
- Abdominal pain with stings;
- Weight loss for no apparent reason;
- Stomach cramps.
No damage was observed in the intestinal villi of people with gluten intolerance, despite the existing discomfort. Depending on your level of intolerance, you will experience the above symptoms to a greater or lesser degree. The solution is to control and limit the intake of foods with gluten.
Are intolerance to gluten and celiac disease the same thing?
Celiac disease (DC) is an autoimmune disease that affects individuals with genetic predisposition, caused by the ingestion of cereals with gluten . People with this condition have small bowel damage. However, the consequences can go beyond that. There has been increasing evidence of a link between intestinal health and an individual’s overall health. People with celiac disease may suffer from mood swings or even depression. Symptoms can vary greatly from one individual to another.
This autoimmune disease is difficult to diagnose as it shares symptoms with other common digestive problems. The best way is to do a biopsy of the intestinal mucosa.
When a person with celiac disease introduces gluten into their diet, they may experience the following symptoms:
- Abdominal swelling;
- Chronic diarrhea;
- Chronic constipation;
- Difficulties in the absorption of nutrients;
- Skin problems;
- Joints and bones fragile and in pain.
The amount and diversity of symptoms is enormous, due to the complexity of this pathology, which can trigger many others, depending on the time that passes without being diagnosed, the amount of gluten consumed, age and general health.
The good news is that it is not necessary to resort to medication for this type of problem, in addition to withdrawing gluten from eating habits. Fortunately, nowadays there is more information and food companies are also more aware of this problem.
Gluten-free foods you can eat
Many foods contain gluten, but it is not difficult to find others that do not. It is important to note that if you are not sure if a food contains gluten, do not eat it. You should pay attention to bulk products, home-made foods, and shredded foods (flours).
Another aspect to keep in mind is that foods that do not contain gluten in their composition may be contaminated or contain traces of it.
This happens when foods are processed with utensils and machines or in environments that have previously treated foods with gluten. That is why we should pay attention to the nutritional information of the products we buy, especially with regard to allergen warnings, where you can check if a product is indeed gluten-free.
There are alternative ways of cooking, which allow you to avoid adding gluten to foods. You should pay particular attention to the fact that you do not use the same utensils to treat different foods, such as knives, spoons, pans, toasters, ovens, aprons, kitchen cloths, etc.