Gluten is found in most wheat, rye and barley. It is a protein that is made up of glutenin and gliadin. Add water and these molecules form an elastic bond. Gluten is also found in many processed foods without being labeled as gluten. It can go under the names of: Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP), Texturized Vegetable Protein (TVP), Starches, Malts, and even Natural Flavoring.Here is a link to Celiac.com which contains a long list of label ingredients that normally contain hidden gluten.
Gluten comes from the word glue. The adhesive properties of gluten are what hold bread and cake together. But those same characteristics can interfere with how your body breaks down and absorbs the nutrition from your food. The gluten in one food can bind with the other foods and create a big lump that can constipate you and cause other problems as well. Over time, the undigested gluten in your gut tells your immune system to attack the intestinal lining. This can cause problems including constipation or diarrhea, abdominal pain and nausea. Eventually the small intestine becomes increasingly inflamed and damaged and this can lead to major problems and disease due to long term nutrient deficiencies. There can be other problems as well such as neurological and psychological problems and problems in other areas like the liver, joints, skin, nervous system and more.
Wheat is one of the biggest crops grown in the US but it has been modified since the 50's and therefore coincides with the rise of Celiac disease and gluten intolerance. Wheat previously was grown with other grains and pure wheat flour has only been milled during the last 200 years. Our diet of high-gluten, refined grain was not in the diet of previous generations.
Pay attention to your body and if you are having some of these issues maybe you might want to consider going gluten free for a couple of weeks and see if there is any improvement. Listen to your body and read the labels. We all need to do what we can to maintain our health and sometimes a change in diet is well worth the rewards gained. Healthcare travelers lead stressful lives and don't need the additional problems of not feeling well or becoming ill. You can learn a lot more online by just searching gluten of course.
Be well, take care of yourself and enjoy each day. You know you never appreciate how good you feel until you don't feel good….Breathe and Be Here Now!
Mary Crawford, HealthCare Employment Network