Gluten is protein found in rye, wheat and barley. Wheat is commonly used in baking bread, baked foods such as chapatti, mandazi and the like. Wheat is also used in soups, pasta, and other cereals. Barley is used in preparing beer, food colorings, malt, brewer’s malt and yeast. Rye is commonly used in rye beer, rye bread and cereals. Other grains like oats also contain gluten. Gluten makes dough to rise and look elastic. Intake of gluten is essential in the human body and enhances healthy living. Gluten also makes food taste better and improves the food texture.
Benefits of gluten
Gluten is very rich in protein. A small intake of gluten contains about 50% of the recommended daily intake of protein. By consuming gluten you are sure your body wont lack protein. Gluten contain low fats; this is very healthy since high intake of fats may be harmful to a person’s health and can cause heart diseases and such.
It is also very rich in iron. Using a quarter cup of wheat gluten flour gives you almost 9% of the daily requirements of iron. Iron is very essential in the human body since it helps one to acquire more blood and avoid anemia. You can also use seitan, which is used as a meat alternative by vegetarians to make faux chicken and beef which has a high content of iron of about 20% of iron of the recommended intake.
Gluten contains carbohydrates so it provides some energy to the human body. This allows you to do your normal routine as usual.
It gives a protein choice for vegetarians who don’t eat meat due to high cholesterol, or other health problems. Gluten is also suitable for people who are allergic to meat and can’t get their proteins from other sources and use cereals to get proteins that is in gluten.
It also contains very essential nutrients like fiber, zinc which have essential health benefits.
Disadvantages of gluten
As much as we see the nutritional benefits of gluten, there are also shortcomings that come with gluten intake especially to people who have celiac disease and also those who don’t suffer from the disease.
Gluten intake can cause intestinal damages especially to people with celiac disease. It happens like this, since food is absorbed in the small intestine, gluten can release antibodies which attack the lining of the small intestines and interfere with the absorption process. This is really crucial since food has to be absorbed. This usually leads to malnutrition and eventually leads to death since the body can’t survive without the nutrients being absorbed through the small intestines. Symptoms of this condition are usually gas, bloating and diarrhea.
Its intake can cause digestive complaints even to those who do not have celiac disease; it causes digestive discomfort. It makes people to experience gas, bloating, diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pains and indigestion, this is called gluten sensitivity which may cause inflammation in the body and brain. This can only be managed by avoiding gluten intake in your diet and seeking medical advice.
A lot of foods rich in gluten are processed. These have chemicals and preservatives that may be harmful to your health.
Gluten avoidance concerns
Since gluten intake may pose some risks to our life, some people prefer to completely eliminate the intake of gluten from their diet. However, this decision comes with pros and cons. For example, living a gluten free life may cause such dangers as being anemic or lacking some essential nutrients for healthy living. According to my research, eliminating gluten helps one to lose weight, avoiding obesity, and also helps prevent diseases such as celiac disease and heart disease. There are also some cons that come along; gluten-free foods have a higher price tag than the foods that contain gluten, this means that the expenses spent on food will increase and your budget too will change.
If you must eliminate gluten intake, then you must start taking nutritional supplements such as fruits, vegetables, poultry and fish. A nutritionist can help someone plan a gluten free diet, a support group can recommend restaurants that serve gluten free foods as well as tasty gluten free recipes that will help you cook your own meals at the comfort of your home.
Having stated the pros and cons of gluten in your diet, you can now decide whether to do gluten or go gluten free. However, health factors must be considered first before settling down for a decision.