What Is Gluten?

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What is gluten? The Web definition of gluten: “ a protein substance that remains when starch is removed from cereal grains gives cohesiveness to dough”

Commonly found in wheat, rye, oats, and barley,gluten is a special protein. It helps to make the bread elastic, providing it with that chewy texture it has when eaten. For this reason, flour that has had it’s gluten removed, provides a sticky dough that feels like chewing gum.

Gluten also has additional benefits to bread. It keeps the gases that are released during fermentation in the dough so that the bread is able to rise before it is baked. When it is fully cooked, gluten firms up the bread, helping to ensure, with the help of starch, that it keeps it’s proper shape.

Gluten is made up of several defining characteristics. For example, gluten has insolubility to water meaning it will not dissolve when placed in some water. It also has an absorbent quality, which is why bread is capable of soaking up broth. Because of this feature, it is often used by vegetarians as an imitation meat. On the downside, gluten is believed to be partially responsible for causing bread to become stale.

The protein found in gluten is known as prolamins. These prolamins are what causes problems for people who can’t tolerate gluten in their diets. If you mix wheat flour with warm water the result is a sort of stretchy paste. This gluten in the flours is what makes the paste elastic and binds it together. Infact the strong flours sold for making bread has extra gluten added for fluffier, lighter effects.

Is gluten needed in our diets?

No it is not needed. Essentially Asian countries and other Eastern countries where rice is the primary grain, there are people who may not eat any gluten throughout their entire lives.

How does gluten cause damage to our bodies?

Eating foods containing gluten can cause damage to the small intestine if an allergy or intolerance is present. Some people can tolerate the excess of zonulin, the protein produced by the body when wheat is eaten. If you have celiac disease the zonulin causes the gaps between the cells in the small intestine to open too wide and allow toxins and gluten fragments into the bloodstream.

These particles are seen as invaders by the body and are attacked. This disease or intolerance attacks the body itself, causing inflammation and damage to the inside of the small intestine. The normal state of the small intestine features small hair like projections along it’s length known as villi. The villi increase the surface area of the small intestine and therefore assist in the absorption of the nutrients that the body needs to stay healthy. Living a gluten free lifestyle will allow these villi to repair themselves and restore your body back to it’s healthy state.

So you ask yourself what is gluten?

Now is the time to use this information I have provided to discover the benefits of living gluten free. The key to this lifestyle is information, information, information. It is critical for you to find out as much as possible about this allergy so you to can start to feel the best you can to live a more energized lifestyle.

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