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Monday, September 23, 2013

Facts About Gluten

By Scarlet Black

What is Gluten? It is a molecule of protein typically found in grains including barley, wheat and rye. Gluten can be found in almost all variety of cereal, grain or bread. But foods like sunflower seeds, oats, soybeans, teff, quinoa, amaranth, millet, buckwheat, corn and rice does not contain gluten meaning bread or food products that contain these ingredients are gluten-free.

The main purpose of using gluten as a main ingredient for bread is that it makes the bread elastic and chewy. Therefore, if gluten is not included in the ingredients of bread, the bread dough becomes thick and sticky that may result to a bread that is hard and dense. Aside from its ability to make the bread rise and make it chewy and elastic, gluten also provides proteins and nutrients. Other than that, it also helps to give bread their beautiful and normal shape and appearance. Another characteristic of gluten is its ability to absorb. You can observe that bread has the ability to absorb not only water but other liquids like gravy or pasta sauces, this is because of the gluten's ability to absorb liquid. This is also the reason why gluten is commonly used in many meat substitute products because gluten can imitate the absorbent quality of meat.

Two kinds are people are known to avoid gluten, those people that believe that presence of gluten in their food may cause them health problems and those people suffering from gluten allergy or also known as Celiac disease. Below are some tips that can help you to live a gluten free life:

-People who are planning to live a gluten free life should make sure that they know what food products and ingredients usually contain gluten. Grains like wheat, rye and barley as well as pasta should be avoided since these kinds of foods contain gluten.

-Reading the labels of foods that you are buying is essential in order for you to make sure that you will not buy foods that contain gluten. Ingredients such as "food starch" and "modified food starch" may mean that they contain gluten.

-Other than the US, several other countries are already recognizing a gluten free diet. Restaurants and fast food chains that include a gluten free diet in their menu are also emerging nowadays which helps people avoiding gluten to be able to dine in restaurants.

-The internet can be a good source of gluten free recipes. Foods recipes that include ingredients like gluten free alcoholic drinks, gluten free bread and gluten free crackers are also available and searchable in the internet.

-There are recipes that require the use of flour like in making sauces and gravy. However, since flour contains gluten, you need to substitute flour with other ingredients like arrow root or corn starch in order for you to be able to make your food without using flour.

Gluten is said to be an essential part of people's nutrition, however gluten may also cause digestive problems to some. For people who have observed that they are usually experiencing digestive problems after consuming foods that contain gluten, it is advisable to seek medical help in order for you to be diagnosed and treated if necessary.

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