Gluten-free products are in nearly every type of grocery store. It makes favorite foods such as breads and pastas readily available for people who have adverse reactions to gluten. What reactions? Commons reactions are Celiac Disease, as well as Non- Celiac gluten sensitivities. These symptoms include gastrointestinal issues like blotting, constipation and diarrhea, as well as joint pain.
Gluten affects an average of one in 141 people in the United States. Although not everyone has Celiac Disease there's a high percentage of people with gluten sensitivities. "Research from the Center for Celiac Research & Treatment indicates that it affects approximately 18 million people, or six percent of the population."
Gluten affects me in more ways than just gastrointestinal issues. My adverse reaction to gluten affects injuries, arthritis and eczema. The common factor is that it affects anything already inflamed.
My arthritis is amplified by gluten
Arthritis is painful stiffness and inflammation in the joints, and mine is affected by foods with gluten. When I eat gluten my knees, hands, right elbow and feet hurt badly. Bending my toes and my fingers are not only painful, but difficult until "warmed up." My right elbow throbs, and some days I can't fully extend my arm.
Injuries and inflammation
I've been very lucky to never injure myself in the gym, but that doesn't mean I'm impervious to common, everyday injuries. Over the years I noticed that injuries like muscle strains take longer to heal when I eat gluten. It wouldn't be so noticeable, but there are times of the year when my nutrition program is "pristine" and devoid of gluten. During this time I have very few aches or pains in old injuries. However, a day of two with foods high in gluten and it's a painful battle.
Eczema flare-ups are ongoing with gluten
My neck is the worst area for eczema, but my eczema isn't confined to this area. It often shows up in areas like elbow creases, on top of my feet and around my wrists along with other places. Eczema is an inflammation of the skin so with reduced gluten it's much more bearable. Why add something that causes inflammation to an inflamed area? It just makes sense to me.
I know my body: The tell-tale signs
Even though I've never had a doctor tell me gluten affects my joints; I know my body, and I know gluten amplifies my stiffness, aches and pains. Excluding grains really helps to reduce gluten, however, there's a lot of gluten in other foods, too. For me, the easiest way to give up gluten is to eat whole foods. I also began adhering to the Eat Right for Your Type diet by Dr. Peter D'Adamo. There are professionals who don't agree with this nutrition plan, but I feel better when I eat this way.
Lisa M. White
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