Many people have a gluten sensitivity and don’t even know it. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not causing all sorts of health issues for them!
Although there may be a variety of explanations for how you’re feeling, gluten sensitivity is linked to a lot of common ailments and cutting out gluten could improve your wellbeing very quickly.
If you’re not feeling 100%, it’s a good idea to become aware of your body and how it feels, including if you feel better when you don’t eat any gluten products.
These questions will help you determine whether you have a gluten sensitivity or not – if you answer ‘yes’ to any of them, it’s a good idea to cut out gluten and see if things improve.
1. Do you often feel really, really tired?
Extreme fatigue feels like you’re always tired, no matter how much you sleep. If you always wake up tired and nothing ever helps, you might be sensitive to gluten. Why could eating gluten be making you tired? Because when your body is sensitive to gluten, it has to spend its resources fighting inflammation and doesn’t have much of an opportunity to recharge.
2. Do you experience mood swings, depression or anxiety?
Science has linked gluten to several mental health issues, and there is even more interesting research being done on the relationship between mental health and inflammation. It seems that the state of your gut has a lot to do with the state of your mental health. This means that cutting out gluten could actually improve the way you feel, not only physically but emotionally. If you spend a lot of time worried, fearful or sad and you don’t know why, gluten may well be the culprit.
3. Do you have trouble focusing or thinking clearly?
Gluten sensitivity causes ‘brain fog’, which means being unable to focus, having memory problems, and feeling fuzzy—as if you’re not fully present. Yep, gluten could be causing this. Many people with gluten sensitivity experience brain fog. Remember that you’re meant to be able to think clearly so don’t let brain fog become the norm.
4. Do you get sick often?
If you have a gluten sensitivity, eating gluten weakens your immune system so your body doesn’t have the strength to fight off bacteria and viruses. This is partly because it’s busy dealing with the gluten attack and partly because the presence of unwanted gluten prevents it from absorbing nutrients. In the long term, your body becomes weaker and gets sick more easily.
5. Have you been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease?
Some of the autoimmune diseases that have been linked to gluten sensitivity include: Celiac Disease, Hashimoto Thyroiditis, Graves Disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Vitiligo, Sjogren’s, Multiple Sclerosis, Crohn’s, Ulcerative Colitis, Dermatitis Herpetiformis, and Type 1 Diabetes. If you have a diagnosis of any of these, removing gluten from your diet could improve the condition.
6. Do you have skin problems?
Gluten sensitivity has been linked to many fairly common skin conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis and acne. A condition called Dermatitis Herpetiformis, commonly diagnosed as eczema, always signifies intolerance to gluten. There is too much evidence linking skin conditions with gluten sensitivity to ignore.
7. Do you suffer from frequent migraines?
Many foods, including gluten, can trigger these debilitating headaches. If you suffer from migraines and haven’t found anything that helps, try cutting out gluten and see if things improve. You can do this with other foods too, for example sugar and dairy.
8. Do you have digestive issues?
I saved this one for last because it’s usually the first symptom people talk about and, as you can see, there are many others to pay attention to. That being said, if you have digestive issues like bloating, gas, diarrhea or constipation, a sensitivity to gluten could be the cause.
This list could be much longer as there are so many other conditions that have been linked to gluten sensitivity: joint pain, hormonal imbalances, cavities and mouth ulcers, just to mention a few.
The important thing is to make friends with your body and learn to listen to its signals. If you’re not feeling well, investigate, without forgetting how much havoc a seemingly simple gluten sensitivity can cause.
Part of making friends with your body is taking good care of it. This includes visiting your health care professional to help you find the cause of lingering illnesses or discomfort. Remember, there are other issues that can cause inflammation, low immunity, etc., so don’t ignore continuing health issues—seek the help of your doctor.