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Can You Eat Grains if You Have Wheat Allergies?

An estimated 4 to 8 percent of children and 2 percent of adults have diagnosed food allergies, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center 1. Wheat is one of the eight foods associated with 90 percent of food allergies. When you have a wheat allergy, your immune system perceives wheat as toxic and triggers adverse symptoms, such as swelling, hives and breathing difficulties, upon its ingestion. Fortunately, numerous grains and grain-containing foods suit a wheat-free diet.

Wheat-Containing Foods

Wheat is one of numerous whole grains. Some of the more obvious sources of wheat include wheat bread, whole wheat bread and cereals, crackers and baked goods that list wheat or wheat flour as an ingredient. Wheat and its derivatives are also present in various less apparent grain products. To ensure that wheat is not contained in commercial foods, the Cleveland Clinic recommends checking ingredient lists and avoiding items that list potential wheat sources, such as:

  • high-protein flour
  • bran
  • graham flour
  • bulgur
  • farina
  • wheat gluten
  • durum
  • semolina
  • wheat malt
  • starch
  • modified starch

Most pastry, white, baking and bread flours also derive from wheat.

  • Wheat is one of numerous whole grains.
  • Some of the more obvious sources of wheat include wheat bread, whole wheat bread and cereals, crackers and baked goods that list wheat or wheat flour as an ingredient.

Wheat-Free Grains

Side Effects of Semolina

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Naturally wheat-free grains include barley, rice, oats, corn and rye. Unprocessed whole grains, such as:

  • brown rice
  • wild rice
  • rye flakes
  • air-popped popcorn
  • are particularly safe bets because they contain no added ingredients

Grain products, such as breads, cereals and pasta derived from wheat-free grains may still contain sources of wheat. When purchasing breads and other prepared foods, look for a "wheat free" label for ensured safety and wellness.

Considerations

If you are allergic not only to wheat but also to gluten -- a storage protein found in wheat, barley and rye -- you'll need to avoid all gluten, rye, barley and wheat-containing foods. In this case, look for foods labeled "gluten free." MayoClinic.com recommends taking caution when dining out; your restaurant server may not realize that wheat is prevalent in a broad variety of foods. Rather than simply stating your wheat allergy, provide a list of "hidden" wheat sources or stick to simple foods, such as:

  • vegetables
  • fruits
  • fish
  • meat
  • milk
  • If you are allergic not only to wheat but also to gluten -- a storage protein found in wheat, barley and rye -- you'll need to avoid all gluten, rye, barley and wheat-containing foods.

Baking Suggestions

List of Wheat-Free Foods

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Learning to prepare wheat-free foods can add enjoyment to your lifestyle and allow you to consume a wide variety of foods. MayoClinic.com recommends consulting wheat-free cookbooks, which offer suggestions specific to people with wheat allergies.

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