Health is our priority at Green Star Flour Miller. Our mission is to help our customers better understand the link between their health, their lifestyles, and the foods they eat. Chief among the emerging health problems facing the world population is that of gluten. Gluten intake can present significant problems to certain populations. And while gluten may seemomnipresent in every aspect of our diets, it is certainly possible to live an active and healthy lifestyle with gluten free products.
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a general term for the proteins found in certain foods. These proteins help “bind” the foods together—when you knead dough for bread, for example, it’s the gluten that gives the dough its characteristic elasticity. Gluten is found in wheat, wheat derivatives (such as durum, emmer, and farina), rye, barley, malt, and brewer’s yeast. This means that gluten is present in numerous grain-based dishes:
Generally speaking, unless a grain product is specifically noted as “gluten free”, the product will contain gluten in some form.
What’s Wrong With Gluten?
Gluten can be dangerous for people with Celiac disease. Celiac disease is a genetic autoimmune condition wherein the body mounts an immune response to the ingestion of gluten. This leads to damage to the small intestine—the primary organ where nutrient absorption occurs. The Celiac Disease Foundation estimates that Celiac disease affects one percent of the entire worldwide population. But even those without Celiac disease may have trouble digesting gluten. Known as “non-Celiac gluten sensitivity”, this condition occurs when people experience similar symptoms to those with Celiac disease after ingesting gluten, but don’t suffer extensive intestinal cell damage. While less life-threatening than untreated Celiac disease, gluten sensitivity can produce significant side effects and health problems for those who suffer from it.
Going Gluten Free
Despite the global prevalence of Celiac disease and gluten intolerance, the effects of gluten on the body are still not well understood. More people are giving up gluten and finding that their gastrointestinal symptoms improve and they feel better overall. And best of all, with the amazing variety of gluten free grains available on the market, those who go gluten free can enjoy rich diets filled with nutritious grains, vitamin-packed flours, and fiber-rich seeds. Ancient grains such as Teff, sorghum, millet, quinoa, and amaranth have been harvested in various cultures across the globe for thousands of years. Their origins vary: Teff, for example, originates in ancient Ethiopia, while others, such as Millet, can be traced back to prehistoric African savannah. However, despite their ancient origins, there’s no denying that these naturally gluten-free heirloom grains are a great substitute to the glutinous grains found in modern diets.