Wheat is the staple of majority of American diets. But due to the recent furor about wheat allergies and its potentially deadly consequences, people have been randomly taking out these foods from their diet to the detriment of their own health.
It should be noted, however, that wheat allergies are extremely rare. In fact, it is one of the rarest of all food allergies. Many claim that the allergic reactions are triggered by a protein, called gluten, found in wheat. When a person allergic to gluten encounters this protein, his immune system overreacts by producing huge amounts of antibodies, causing symptoms like stomach upset, eczema, hay fever, asthma, and even fatal anaphylaxis.
There are several methods by which you can control the symptoms of wheat allergies, but the best choice remains to be strict avoidance of wheat and wheat products. People who are allergic to wheat should avoid wheat all together and be vigilant in the kind of foods they eat.
Here are some tips to help you control wheat allergies:
Check the Label
When buying foods off grocery stores or food shops, be sure to check the label containing the list of ingredients used in making the product. Many processed foods, including ice cream and catsup, may contain wheat flour. And even if you’ve been using that product for some time now, don’t forego checking the label. Many manufacturers change their recipes occasionally, and a food that triggers your wheat allergies may be added to the new recipe.
Avoid Wheat-Containing Foods
This is actually easier said than done. Humans have been eating wheat for millennia and to suddenly stop now just to avoid getting wheat allergies may lead to drastic changes in your diet which may do you more harm than good. It is particularly difficult to avoid wheat-containing foods. In addition, modern food processing methods use various forms of wheat in hundreds, if not thousands of foods.
A wheat-free diet is very restricted. And if you’re highly allergic to wheat, you will have to restrict yourself with unprocessed fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk and dairy products, nuts, fats and oils.
Below are examples of products and foods that may contain wheat and ones you ought to avoid:
- Breads, cookies, cakes, and other baked goods (gluten, gelatinized starch, whole wheat or enriched flour)
- Bread crumbs (hydrolyzed vegetable protein, high gluten flour, and high protein flour)
- Crackers (brain, vital gluten)
- Cereals (wheat bran, farina)
- Acker meal (wheat germ, graham flour)
- Couscous (wheat gluten, bulgur)
- Cracker meal (vegetable gum, durum)
- Pasta (vegetable starch)
- Wheat malt
- Wheat starch
- Modified starch
Get Vitamin Supplements
The main problem that wheat allergic people are facing now is vitamin deficiency caused by the absence of wheat in their diet. Cereals and breads are important sources of dietary fiber, vitamins, especially the B vitamins and minerals. To make sure that you do not develop deficiencies if you have cut all wheat-containing foods out of your diet, it is advised that you consult a clinical dietician for supplements you may take.