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Food for thought: listen to what your body says about gluten

Do you have a gluten sensitivity? Here are six signs to look out for.

Gluten, found in wheat products, can be a major irritant for some people. iStockphoto
Gluten, found in wheat products, can be a major irritant for some people. iStockphoto

Coeliac disease is a zero-tolerance allergy to gluten. Symptoms vary significantly from person to person but usually include a mix of digestive complaints ranging from uncomfortable to severe.

This type of gluten allergy is an immune-system response, triggered when even the tiniest amount of gluten is ingested. Symptoms usually appear soon after, which makes it easier to diagnose.

But you don’t have to have an allergy to be sensitive to gluten. Many people, while not testing positive for coeliac disease, do have a negative reaction when they consume food containing gluten. However, because this isn’t necessarily an immune response, symptoms can be delayed – making it difficult to understand and identify what is happening with your body. Sometimes you may even be able to consume gluten foods without a reaction; your body tolerates certain amounts but it can be difficult to understand where that balance is. This makes identifying what exactly is causing the problem very challenging.

Here are six signs to look for to determine whether you have a gluten sensitivity, according to Natural News: stomach and digestive complaints such as gas, bloating, queasiness, cramping, constipation, diarrhoea; regular headaches or migraines; muscle aches and pains; irritability and irrational mood changes; dizziness, difficulty balancing, pain, weakness, tingling or numbness in the extremities; and fatigue, especially after meals.

If you suffer from any of these symptoms, or a combination, try to eliminate gluten completely from your diet for one week but keep a note of how you feel each day so that you can track your body’s response.

It may also be helpful to keep a food diary so you can begin to build a picture of what your body is trying to communicate to you. If you listen to your body and begin to know what it likes and doesn’t like, you are in the best position to eliminate these unwelcome symptoms and restore peace once more to your stomach.

Laura Holland is a well-being consultant and nutritional therapist. For more information, visit www.beutifulyou.co.uk


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