For most of us, at least in North India, wheat is a staple: we cannot imagine eating anything without our atta rotis. But studies conducted all over the world have shown that the innocuous grain is the source of several disorders from allergies to headaches. This is because wheat contains molecules like gluten and gliaden which have been linked to intolerance and allergies, and in some cases, to coeliac disease of the intestine.
Wheat is such a basic part of our diet that it doesn’t occur to us that it could be a source of our disorders. Here are seven signs to watch for:
Weight gain: If weight gain is steady despite a good diet and exercise, it may be the wheat.
Fatigue after a meal: If, within an hour or two of eating, you feel fatigued, you could probably blame it on your rotis.
A history of migraines: Migraines become more frequent if you eat too much refined flour. A combination of sugar and refined atta is the recipe for a heavy head.
A foggy brain: If you’re unable to concentrate, feel drowsy, and have a sluggish memory between 2pm and 6pm most days, refined wheat flour may be to blame.
Bloating, constipation and a heavy bowel: This is the commonest sign that wheat may not be good for you.
Allergies and sinus blocks: A wheat intolerance could be behind your constantly blocked nose.
Chronic skin allergies: This is another sign of possible wheat allergy.
How to know if you are wheat intolerant
Avoid wheat-based products for four weeks and see if it makes a difference. In most cases, improvements can be noticed even within 10 days.
Substitutes for wheat atta and products
Rice, sago, arrowroot atta, quinoa, water chestnuts, buckwheat (kuttu atta), potato, jowar, bajra, fox nuts (makhana), peanuts, and all nuts and dry fruits. All fruits are also naturally gluten free.
Wheat is often hidden in sauces, health drinks (malt and similar) and breaded desserts.
Wheat is a major ingredient in biscuits, bread, maida, wheat atta, sooji, pasta, noodles, bakery foods, semolina, breakfast cereals.
From HT Brunch, October 16
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