Wheat is one food that’s so common it has become part of our daily diet. Unfortunately there are a good number of people out there who have developed a sensitivity toward wheat-based products. Some would get rashes or stomachache after having a serving or two of bread, cereal, or pasta. If you have the same kind of symptoms, chances are you are allergic to wheat.
Understanding wheat allergy
Wheat is a cereal grain that is commonly found in bread, bagels, cakes, crackers, and pasta. Over the years, it has become one of the most successful and sustainable cereal crops in the world, highly recognized for its abundant health benefits. Studies have shown that a diet rich in wheat helps lower the risk of heart disease, prevent diabetes, and provide the body with immense energy.
However, there are compounds present in wheat such as albumin, globulin, gliadin, and gluten that trigger an allergic reaction in some people, causing many allergy symptoms such as itching, sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, coughing, hives or skin rash, nausea, headaches, vomiting, indigestion or diarrhea, hay fever, stomach cramps, swollen limbs, and asthma.
How to tell if you’re allergic to wheat
Wheat is present not only in bread, baked goods, and pasta but also in processed foods and nonfood items like cosmetics, bath products, and even in Play-Doh. To determine whether you are sensitive to wheat, the first thing you should do is to list down everything you ate or products you’ve come in contact with during the past week and identify the foods and products that contain wheat. This way, you’ll be able to determine which kind of wheat-containing foods or products you should avoid or eliminate in your daily diet.
However, the best way to know for sure if you are allergic to wheat is to get an accurate diagnosis from an allergist. A skin-prick test will be conducted, wherein a small amount of liquid containing an allergen (wheat) is placed on the forearm and then pricked to check if the skin will flare up. Once a reddish spot forms within 15 to 20 minutes, this indicates an allergy.
Overcoming wheat allergy
It can be a challenge to prevent wheat allergy, especially since wheat is predominant in most of the foods we eat. If you have been positively diagnosed with wheat allergy, it is recommended that you work with a nutritionist to determine the alternatives to wheat that you can include in your daily diet. You may be advised to look for other grain sources like barley, oat, corn, rice, or rye. It is important to have other grain sources in your diet to avoid an unbalanced diet.
You may also want to consider including wheat-free versions of your favorite foods. Food manufacturers are now coming out with wheat-free alternatives to many food products to allow wheat-sensitive consumers to enjoy their favorites even without the presence of wheat. If you love baking, you can experiment with a combination of wheat-free flours to achieve the kind of texture and consistency you’re looking for.
Even if you’re allergic to wheat, this doesn’t have to keep you from having a delicious and healthy diet. All it takes is arming yourself with the right information so you can enjoy the foods you love to eat without having to face any allergic reaction.