Celiac disease is an auto-immune condition that affects an estimated 1 in 133 Americans or about 1% of the population. And it can occur at any time in a person's life.
When people with celiac disease eat products containing even a trace of gluten, their small intestines become inflamed and are unable to absorb nutrients. Therefore, the only real solution is to remove gluten from the diet altogether.
Many people have gluten sensitivities yet don't test positive for Celiac disease. These individuals can have various health issues ranging from bloating to headaches to fatigue.
To find out if you have a gluten sensitivity, ask yourself the following questions:
1. Do you experience frequent bloating or gas?
2. Have you ever been diagnosed with IBS or acid reflux?
3. Do you have daily diarrhea or chronic constipation?
4. Do you experience frequent migraines or headaches?
5. Do you experience joint pain?
6. Do you have problems concentrating or staying focused?
7. Have you dealt with depression and anxiety?
8. Do you often feel fatigued?
9. Do you suffer from chronic eczema or acne?
If you answered yes to four or more of these questions, you might have gluten sensitivity and should probably consult your doctor. They will likely have you eliminate gluten from your diet for 2 to 4 weeks to determine if your symptoms subside. On the other hand, if you answered yes to only one or two of these questions, eliminating gluten from your diet might still be worth your while to see if those symptoms go away.
Eliminating gluten from your diet can be easier than you think. You might even lose a couple of pounds while testing your body's reaction to a gluten-free diet. Gluten is typical in such foods as pizza, pasta, bread, wraps, rolls, and many processed foods. But many foods naturally do not contain gluten. For example, whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, and rice do not contain gluten. Quinoa is also gluten-free.
Whether you're a vegan or a vegetarian, you are most likely already used to giving some extra thought to what you put on your plate. And this is no different. You can quickly learn what foods to avoid if you have gluten sensitivity. In addition, many find that cutting out most (though not all) gluten from their diet is sufficient to aid the majority of their symptoms.