How do you know you are gluten sensitive and what are the healthiest substitutes?
Gluten is a protein found in grains like barley and wheat, it is insoluble in water and it is the one that gives bread its uniform texture thanks to its sticky properties. It’s not just called gluten – in Hebrew Dabkan (glue). Gluten actually gives the dough its stickiness.It is important to understand that gluten is not an enemy to healthy people who consume it in a controlled manner, but it can certainly be dangerous to health for some people. Celiac disease, for example, is an intestinal disease defined in medicine as autoimmune, which results from a high sensitivity to gluten. When celiac’s immune system detects gluten, it accidentally attacks healthy cells and causes a type of inflammation and non-absorption of important substances from food. Celiac symptoms include: high fatigue, abdominal pain, diarrhea, malnutrition and major deficiencies in important vitamins and minerals such as iron. Celiac disease is diagnosed through a blood test or biopsy, and in order to feel good and not suffer from the symptoms of the disease, gluten should be avoided completely. For celiac patients, gluten intake can be a real danger, ranging from severe nutritional deficiencies to osteoporosis due to calcium loss to fertility problems, miscarriages and various types of cancer.

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In addition to celiac patients, there is another group of people who are allergic to gluten, with symptoms such as itching, redness, suffocation and immediate danger that need to be treated urgently. There are people who are defined as sensitive to gluten, which is a phenomenon that is not life threatening but definitely disrupts the lifestyle. Today you can test this sensitivity which is mainly expressed in abdominal pain, bloated stomach, gas, various digestive problems, diarrhea or constipation, postpartum fatigue, headaches and gastrointestinal discomfort, through allergy tests, trial and error or various genetic tests.

In recent years, many people have begun to diagnose themselves as gluten sensitive, having felt these symptoms, and testified that they feel much better. This is where the sweeping trend of gluten substitutes began.

The simplest way to detect gluten sensitivity is to simply take down gluten products such as bread, porridge, cakes, cookies, burgul, couscous, flakes, etc., and check if the unpleasant sensations in the digestive system disappear. If there is a significant improvement, you may be sensitive to gluten, but of course it is recommended that you let a professional help you diagnose it.

 

Photo: Katrinshine, shutterstock

 

What are the healthiest substitutes today for gluten-sensitive people?

So if you are indeed sensitive to gluten, and want to avoid it, it is important to continue consuming various grains and starches so as not to cause yourself nutritional deficiencies, especially if your diet was based on flour and its products. A gluten-poor diet can cause deficiencies like group vitamins B, Calcium and dietary fiber. Here are some great replacements that can be made into just about anything.

Buckwheat – In recent years, buckwheat has become the queen of healthy cuisine. It is available in brown (roasted) or green (its more natural state). It is recommended to choose green buckwheat, because its values ​​are higher and were not destroyed during roasting. Green buckwheat is more suitable for baking bread, making tortillas or baking various pastries, and brown buckwheat, is suitable for making dishes similar to rice. Buckwheat is very rich in protein, iron, zinc, selenium, magnesium and antioxidants that prevent inflammation. It is suitable for celiacs and those who are sensitive to gluten.

quinoa – Quinoa is a very rich protein in protein, it contains the 9 essential amino acids that the body does not produce on its own, it is low in fat, rich in antioxidants and dietary fiber, it is low in calories, it has amounts of vitamins and minerals such as vitamins B, Iron, potassium and calcium, it is beneficial for those who want to lose weight and it balances the sugar levels in the body and contributes to a feeling of satiety. The quinoa can be used to make various dishes, desserts, breads and pastries. And it can be found in white, red and black.

Rice – Rice is an excellent source of easy-to-digest carbohydrate and its values ​​vary from one rice to another. The more recommended rice is the whole fiber or basmati, which has a lower glycemic value than its other rice counterparts. Rice has carbohydrates, proteins, folic acid, and vitamins B1 and more, when in whole rice the values ​​are higher.

Sweet potatoes – The sweet potato came out there not so successfully and not quite rightly so. Although it is a starchy carbohydrate, but one with high nutritional values, wonderful sweet taste, plenty of dietary fiber, it also has protein, it is digested quickly, and it is even suitable for diabetics thanks to its non-fibrous fibers, which help slow blood sugar. Sweet potatoes can be used as an addition to various dishes, pastries, cakes, cookies, eat with the salad and even bake bread with it.

Legumes – Among the legumes are: various beans, lentils of all kinds, chickpeas and beans. They are rich in dietary fiber, protein, and vitamins from the group B, Calcium, iron, potassium and more. Legumes are an excellent substitute for grains and can be played with quite a bit in the kitchen and enrich our menu with high values, dietary fiber and cause an increased feeling of satiety with their help. The legumes can be used to make stews, breads, various tortillas, pies, patties and more.

Green beans in tomato sauce (Photo: MariaKovaleva, ShutterStock)
green beans in tomato sauce | Photo: MariaKovaleva, ShutterStock

5 daily recommendations for gluten avoiders:

  • Do not be lazy. Always take a good look at what is written on the packaging and check that the same food does not contain gluten.
  • When eating out, do not forget to ask the waiter what the ingredients of the dish are and indicate your sensitivity to gluten.
  • Increase in vegetables and fruits, which will provide you with an abundance of dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals and efficient absorption of important components in food.
  • Consult a professional who will tailor a balanced and healthy custom menu for you.
  • Perform periodic blood tests to make sure you are not deficient.

By Editor

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